As summer stretches across its pinnacle, Dirty Heads and 311 are bringing their co-headlining ‘Sounds of Summer’ tour to Sacramento’s Papa Murphy’s Park on Friday, August 16. Driven by an infectious appetite to hone and push their signature sounds to new heights, Dirty Heads released the long-anticipated ‘Super Moon’ on August 9, just as 311 put out their 13th studio album, ‘Voyager,’ on July 12—which promises to make for a sweet summer showing.
Splitting production between Grammy-nominated producer John Feldmann and longtime collaborator Scotch Ralston, ‘Voyager’ bounces between the classic 311 tones and a forward sound that testifies to the group’s continued desire to carve their own lane. With Grammy Award-winning engineer Neal Avron in charge of mixing the album, the two fields come together like paper and rock in a game of roshambo, senses lost in the spirit of rock and roll.
In light of working with the two famed producers, guitarist Tim Mahoney found it difficult to pick a song that could easily encapsulate the 311 sound, while describing the album on a recent phone interview.
“They’re kind of two different vibes but they work together somehow,” said Mahoney. “There are songs that are just pure, like 311 riffs, more than some of the songs that are just strictly chord kind of riff with the band, and then you have some other songs where there’s different writers involved, and so it’s kind of all over the place.”
Regardless, the band has been able to perform five or six songs new songs on tour—so far—to fuel the longevity their fans have come to appreciate since the early 90s.
“We’re just kind of getting our feet wet with the songs in the live environment but so far so good,” said Mahoney. “Our fans are pretty cool in that respect.”
With good-hearted tracks, such as “Space and Time” and “Dodging Raindrops,” complemented by the rousing “Charge It Up” and fully fledged by “Lucid Dreams,” ‘Voyager’ offers a fresh take on a seasoned 311 soundscape.
While fans have been able to listen to ‘Voyager’ over the last month, Dirty Heads’ new album ‘Super Moon’ will barely have been out a week by the time the Huntington Beach natives make their way to Sacramento.
A concise body of work, ‘Super Moon’ feels like a time capsule for those who will always crave the Pacific Coast. The sonic route travels through a wormhole longtime Dirty Heads fans will surely recognize, while standing tall with the assistance of Grammy Award-winning producer Dave Cobb. Just as the ocean cleanses one’s worries, ‘Super Moon’ is one of the most refreshing bodies of work released by a band unafraid of alteration.
Dirty Heads’ own Duddy B recently spoke with us on the album’s creation process and its care-free approach that has managed to render one of their best projects to date.
“I guess we did less production on this album than a lot of times,” said Duddy B. “We did a lot of recording all the music at one time, in the same room, everyone playing together, no click track, where in the past we did a lot of building beats on the computer, and you know, adding parts as we go. This was a lot more organic of a writing sessions and recording session.”
With Dave Cobb in charge of production, Dirty Heads found themselves in RCA Studio A in Nashville, Tennessee, where music legends, such as B.B. King and The Beach Boys, passed through once upon a time. While every spin of the album lingers with deeper resonance of timelessness, the initial presentation of the appropriately titled “Tender Boy” leaves one of the more lasting impressions.
“You know that one came across pretty organically,” said Duddy B. “We were kind of just hanging out in the studio, talking, and I kind of just started messing on the piano and came off with that little piano lick and everyone was just kind of like, ‘Oh wow, that’s really cool,’ and we kind of stopped what we were doing and just started working on that song and it all came about in one session and we wrote the song and finished it. That’s actually one of my favorites on the album.”
‘Super Moon’ kicks off with the most energy in its weighty single of the same name before taking a gratifying stroll through tender songs, such as “Horsefly,” “Fear & Love” and “Lighthouse.” “Lift Me Up” breaths a new life for fans of the oldies, while the album as a whole is anchored by the casually poignant “Slow Down,” which comes bound with the chorus: “we’re all running in the same race, ain’t nobody winning, we’re only here for a minute, so everybody slow down.”
“Every album one stands out as, ‘Oh, this is a great closer for the album,’” said Duddy B. “With this day and age everyone’s in such a rush and they get so much information so quickly, that it’s sometimes, we just gotta take a little step back and slow down for a little bit.”
For more information on ‘Super Moon’ and the Dirty Heads, visit dirtyheads.com.
For more information on ‘Voyager’ and 311, visit 311.com.
For tickets and information on the ‘Sounds of Summer’ tour, visit PapaMurphysPark.com/event/311-dirty-heads.