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Sixty seconds with Kyle Johnson

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Indy: A.V. Club says the songs on your new 7" single ["Cul-De-Sac" b/w "Light It Up"] — and I'm quoting here — "dial back on their predecessors' angularity, opting instead for a looser, Lone Star-swilling-and-spilling vibe reminiscent of Lucero or The Hold Steady." Is that true?

KJ: Honestly, we didn't do anything different, but that's what they heard.

Indy: But the songs do seem a little more direct, a little less complicated.

KJ: Well, those two tracks were recorded as demos with some other songs. They were recorded completely live, so what you're hearing is a very different production than [the Austin band's 2008 debut album] Torch Songs. Pretty much the rule was: If it was done after 1975, we weren't going to do it. It was all of us in one big room just playing. And if it did come out a little "spilling and swilling," that's all right, that's why it's on vinyl.

Indy: So when you played the Rocket Room here in 2008, you were touring a great album and put on a great show. Since then you've done — what — two songs? What's going on?

KJ: We've been through some lineup changes. We're actually on our third drummer, so that was a big part of it. But we have been writing lots of songs. Those two tracks were really just our way of letting people know that we were alive and kicking, and currently in the studio working on a second full length, which will certainly come out this year.

Indy: So you've done something like five tours in three years?

KJ: This is our sixth national tour.

Indy: And are you really playing karaoke night?

KJ: We're on right before karaoke. Just get there at 8, because karaoke starts at 10.

Indy: At least you didn't get the puppet show.

KJ: Yeah, do you believe the Rocket Room, who loved and adored us so much, is giving us such a shit show?

At the Rocket Room, June 24.

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