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Smith Westerns played at the Music Hall of Williamsburg Wednesday night, with Wampire opening the show. Smith Westerns stopped in on tour of their latest album Soft Will.

Years ago Smith Westerns caught my attention with a fantastic debut album that was lo-fi as all hell, but featured some killer guitar tunes. I liked the expansion of their sound to a glam-rock territory on sophomore album Dye It Blonde. They slowed things down ever further on Soft Will, which features a solid set of songs that are good, but a further stray away from what made me love them in the first place.

The show didn’t shy away from this at all, playing all material from their last two albums, save for one song. Smith Westerns are at their best live when they let loose and play their rockier jams, which lets the bands anchor, guitarist Max Kakacek, show off his amazing talent.

There’s no doubt the band has shown growth, with “Imagine Pt. 3”, “All Die Young” and “Weekend” stealing the show, as well as Soft Will’s lead single, “Varsity.” I couldn’t help but feel like the band is missing a major chance to rock out by playing some of their older stuff (“Be My Girl”, “Dreams”), which are partially the reason I became a fan of these guys. I know that they want to show that they’re a more mature band, but I don’t understand why they completely abandoned these songs either.

Smith Westerns are able to create some lovely sounds when they want to, and they showed that with most of the songs that they played, but I just wish they let loose a little bit more and rocked out like they did when I saw them open for Wavves a few years back.



[new]: Smith Westerns – 3am Spiritual

By Will Oliver, May 20th 2013

Smith Westerns

Smith Westerns’ new album Soft Will comes out June 25th via Mom + Pop. First single “Varsity” has been glowing in my head for months now, and the band has finally given us another taste of the album.

It’s the lovely “3am Spiritual” which takes the glam-rock tendencies that the boys have been working towards all these years in a fully formed and realized fashion. They’ve shown a new-found grace and maturity that hopefully bodes well for the rest of Soft Will.

They play Music Hall of Williamsburg on July 24, tickets are still on sale for that here. Stream “3am Spiritual” below.

[music video]: Smith Westerns – Varsity

By Will Oliver, May 8th 2013

Smith Westerns have released a video for their current single “Varsity.” It’s directed by Alan Del Rio Ortiz, showing the dreaminess of young love.

It’s off their new album Soft Will, which will now come out on June 25 via Mom + Pop.

They will play Music Hall of Williamsburg on July 24. Here are the rest of their announced tour dates:

07/21 + Nashville, TN – Exit In
07/23 + Washington, DC – Black Cat
07/24 + Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg
07/26 + Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer
07/27 + Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair
07/28 + Montreal, QC – Cabaret Mile End
07/29 + Toronto, ON – Lee’s Palace
08/02 + Chicago, IL – Lollapalooza
08/05 + Kansas City, MO – The Riot Room
08/06 + Denver, CO – Bluebird Theater
08/07 + Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge
08/09 + San Francisco, CA – Outside Lands Festival
08/10 + Los Angeles, CA – El Rey Theatre
08/11 + Pomona, CA – The Glass House
08/12 + San Diego, CA – Casbah
08/15 + Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge
08/16 + Seattle, WA – The Crocodile
08/17 + Vancouver, BC – Electric Owl
08/20 + Minneapolis, MN – Varsity Theater
10/04 -10/06 + Austin, TX – Austin City Limits Festival
10/11 – 10/13 + Austin, TX – Austin City Limits Festival

[new]: Smith Westerns – Varsity

By Will Oliver, March 5th 2013 — with 2 comments

Smith Westerns

Smith Westerns
have returned with their new single “Varsity.” It will be on their new album, Soft Will, out June 11th on Mom+Pop.

On “Varsity” the band return in full fashion hitting those glam-rock chords oh so well. This is one of the bigger sounding songs that we’ve heard from the Chicago-band to date, as the production is top notch and they’re reaching bigger with it’s chorus. I like it quite a bit.

The band started work on Soft Will during spring/summer 2012, teaming up with producer Chris Coady. Recording started at Sonic Ranch in El Paso Texas in August. They finished the album with multiple sessions in New York to finally complete the album last December.

“Varsity” will be released as a limited 7” on May 14th via Mom+Pop. It will feature B-side “Case & Point.”

Find the Soft Will tracklist below.
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Smith Westerns @ Glasslands Gallery (1/19/2011)

By Will Oliver, January 19th 2011 — with 1 comment

Smith Westerns have a lot of talent. They’re a great live band who are perfect for an intimate venue such as Brooklyn’s Glasslands Gallery (which they easily sold out). It was the record release day for their new album Dye It Blonde (read my review here). My only fault with the show was that it certainly didn’t feel like a special show. There was no mention of the album even coming out, and I don’t think their set was any different than normal.

I can’t get mad though, Smith Westerns aren’t the type of band who cares about that stuff. They don’t interact with their crowd, or have the most dominating stage presence. Whatever man. They just want to bring the rock. And you know what, that’s fine. Some songs they absolutely brought , but others left me wanting more (All Die Young). Their young kids and they’re not perfect. For the most part the band was on fire and had the crowd going nuts. I had a lot of fun and that’s the point of rock ‘n roll, right? Give them a few more years and their live show will probably be beyond incredible.

Ducktails played before them and were very, very, impressive. I haven’t given them as much attention as I should have, but that’s certainly going to change now. I’d see them again in a heartbeat. Bass Drum Of Death and Sundelles were the other two opens. Bass Drum Of Death were pretty excellent. Just two guys playing some mean garage rock. I’d keep an eye out for them for sure.

I posted the setlist and photos below:

Check more photos out, including some of Ducktails, after the jump:

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[Album Review] Smith Westerns – Dye It Blonde

By Will Oliver, January 17th 2011 — with 2 comments

Smith Westerns – Dye It Blonde | 2011 | Fat Possum

Purchase at Insound

Smith Westerns self titled debut was a great first effort. Even with though it was extremely lo-fi, they showed great promise, leaving fans eager to see what good production would be able to do for the Chicago gang.

You can stop imagining, because Smith Westerns new album, Dye It Blonde is that dream put into reality. The unstoppable record label Fat Possum took the Chicago band under their wing with producer Chris Coady and produced a stellar effort.

On this 10 song album, the bands sound is taken to incredible new heights. “Weekend” was our first taste of cleaner sounding Smith Westerns, and its the perfect album opener. It bleeds of youthful exuberance and romantic hope. The combination of Cullen Omori’s light vocals and the glimmering guitar riffs will leave you in awe.

“Imagine Pt. 3” shines with bright energy, even if it’s penned with sad lyrics like “The look in your eyes makes me wanna die. You’re not the girl I used to know”. Just like everyone else, Smith Westerns are growing up and experiencing everything that life has planned for them on the way. Craving love is a huge theme on this album, but they never take it too seriously.

“All Die You”, the standout of the album, is an emotional ride through the tribulations of life. It’s a dramatic song that nearly causes time to stop when played. The boys change the tempo towards the end, transitioning into a playful reprise of “All die young, when love is love, and when you are young”. It’s their way of playing it all off. Their too young to get totally consumed by adulthood.

The thing that’s so great about these songs is their instant appeal. “Smile” has all the ambition of an early 90s brit-pop classic that would make the Gallaghers proud. It’s one of the many songs that will win you over. Ultimately it’s up to you to choose which songs are your favorite, because they’re all top notch.

Each song is packed to the brim with hooks and jangly guitars that you will fall in love with. These guys know how to create killer harmonies that have the perfect balance of catchy pop and emotional sincerity. They’re incredibly talented for their age, and they make it all seem so effortless. It’s almost criminal.

As a whole, Dye It Blonde stands incredibly tall. The most honest way to describe it is polished indie anthems with lots of heart. The scariest part is that these guys are only getting started. Imagine what they will be capable a few years from now?

Dye It Blonde’s arrival is perfect timing for me. I’m about the same age as these guys, and am still experiencing all that life has to offer. I have a feeling that I’ll be alright as long as I have these songs accompanying me on my journey.

Rating: 8.8/10

Smith Westerns – All Die Young

Smith Westerns – Weekend

Smith Westerns – Imagine, Pt. 3

Best Of 2011: Smith Westerns – All Die Young

By Will Oliver, January 8th 2011 — with 2 comments

I’d hate to jump the gun and already call a song one of the best of the year, but sometimes you just know.

Well, I just know that “All Die Young” by Smith Westerns is one of the best things you’ll hear all year. I was instantly impressed when I heard them play it live at Bowery Ballroom last summer, and I instantly fell in love with the recorded form.

From the dramatic guitars to the emotional lyrical content, you know you’re listening to something one of a kind right from the get go. These guys are young like me, and they’re probably still learning a lot about life. What they do know is that you need to live your life to the fullest while you still can. That lesson has no age.

In terms of sound, this is as dreamy as they come. It will strip away all those minute troubles, leaving you with nothing but reflection on what truly matters.

It’s the next single that will be on their new album Dye It Blonde, due out on January 18th via Fat Possum. We got an official stream for you below. You can bet to see this on many best of 2011 lists when the time comes in 11 months.

Smith Westerns – “All Die Young” by forcefieldpr

You can (and should) pre-order Dye It Blonde right now. You can grab it at insound or straight from Fat Possum

[music video] Smith Westerns – Weekend

By Will Oliver, December 14th 2010 — with 1 comment

Smith Westerns music video for “Weekends” features the guys having the perfect weekend. Junk food, partying, and hanging out. It’s good to be young and alive. and the music video for “Weekend” proves it. I can’t want to return home and do the same with my friends.

Watch it below:

Smith Westerns – Weekend from Fat Possum Records on Vimeo.

The band has also announced some tour dates, that will go along with the January 18th release date of their new album, Dye It Blonde. The band will be in NY for the release of the album, along with the day after .

Check out the dates, after the jump.

Tue-Jan 18: Brooklyn, NY – Glasslands
Wed-Jan 19: New York, NY – Pianos
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