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Heavy Cream and the Nashville Scene

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Heavy Cream Danny Nashville Band

It’s damn near impossible for me to discuss the music of Nashville’s Heavy Cream without also feeling some sort of personal connection to the quartet’s music. Wrapping up a six-month stint in Canada, I had already decided that Nashville was going to be the next stop for me when I caught the Turbo Fruits as part of the Sled Island festival last July. (Simply put, the show was bonkers.) I’d been a fan of the group since forever, but I didn’t have a clue of what else was happening musically in their hometown before making the trip south. So when I landed in Music City and began to find my bearings — again, not knowing what I was getting into — it came as a welcomed surprise when I was introduced to Heavy Cream. The comparison I made at the time might have been a little shortsighted, but the similarities between the two groups was one that really excited me, “Musically none too distant from their Trashville brethren the Turbo Fruits,” I wrote at the time. “The three to one ratio of females to males in the band means that there’s a hell of a lot more estrogen behind the group’s gritty rock.” Coincidentally, I wasn’t alone in slowly coming to the realization that Nashville has a shit ton of talent to offer that has absolutely nothing to do with the city’s stereotypical sound.

When asked about the surge of publicity that the band and the Nashville garage rock scene received this past summer the group responded via email, “It’s wonderful to get some attention from Nylon and everyone but this isn’t a brand new scene at this point.” Had I only known I would have probably made the move sooner. Slowly I began to realize just how deep the talent pool was. Heavy Cream cites the likes of Cy Barkley, Big Surr, Denney and the Jets, and Those Darlins as a few of their favorites, but still, that only scratches the surface of what the city’s scene has to offer. One of the most alluring aspects of the musical community here isn’t simply the volume of talented acts there are, but the apparent willingness to form a community within the rock scene. This takes many forms, be it cross-promotion, split-releases, or simply kicking back with one another. One thing’s for sure: without it there would be no Heavy Cream.

Working with local PUJOL mainman Daniel Pujol and bassist Wes Traylor, Heavy Cream’s Jessica McFarland was previously the drummer for MEEMAW until the group disbanded in 2009 (they did play a one-off reunion last January though). Continuing in their email, Heavy Cream explained that it was only through hanging out at parties and barbecues (see: community) that momentum began to build. And as things came together Heavy Cream eventually locked down their lineup: Nashville natives Galbierz (23) and Danny Severs (25) assumed rolls on guitar and bass, while the Paris, TN native McFarland (25) picked up vocal duties and Melissa Burnett (who was replaced by 25 year old North Carolina native, Tiffany Minton, late last year) kept things steady on the drum kit.

Having already released a 7” through Infinity Cat with MEEMAW, McFarland’s connection set the wheels in motion for similarly hooking up her new band. When IC co-owner and JEFF the Brotherhood‘s Jake Orrall got wind of what was cooking, he reached out and let the band know that he wanted to release their self-titled debut EP. “There was no way we could have turned it down.”

Releasing the 7” in September of 2009 it would be nearly a year of shows (and parties) and touring (and parties) before the band would release Danny, the group’s first full-length album. “Our first gig was at a dive bar in Nashville called Springwater, which later we would play shows with the Spits, Nobunny, Davlia 666, and a whole list of our favorite other bands. We really played our first super tight shows as a band in may 2009, and decided we wanted to do this full time.”

With Orrall again working as producer, the band took to the studio in January of last year and nailed down a whirlwind recording session to lock down their new tracks, “The whole thing was done in 24 hours, but it felt like two weeks.” More shows led to more touring (alongside the likes of JEFF and Natural Child), and eventually the band was opening for the likes of the Israeli madmen of Monotonix. Released in August, Danny immediately received some glowing reviews, MOKB latched onto the album’s “fast, short, exuberant bursts of garage rock” while RCRD LBL explained, “Ripping through their set with the ferociousness of a mountain lion, their primal beats, catchy riffs and bewitching drones leave you wondering when Joey Ramone and Suzie Quattro had a love child.”

Recently announcing a week’s worth of supporting dates, backing Ty Segall all the way from Montreal to Austin, the group will land in SXSW in March for at least one show (as with the SXSW bonanza in years gone by however, don’t be surprised if one show leads to a dozen). And despite Danny only having been out a few months, the band has already set their sights on its follow-up. “We still plan to finish writing and recording our next record in 2011,” continued the group in their email. “We’re writing our second full length as well as releasing a seven inch in the spring.” Maybe by the time summer rolls around there’ll be another lost soul who lands in the city just in time to pick up whatever the band is putting down. In the meantime, I can’t wait to see what 2011 has in store for the band and the scene they’re repping.