June 17, 2021
Photo Credit: Alex Morgan

Indiana duo The Cold Stares have revealed the video for their new song Heavy Shoes, which you can watch below.  The song is the third taken from their upcoming album, Heavy Shoes, which will be released via Mascot Records/Mascot Label Group on 13th August.

Their story alone would be enough for a drama series – cancer, suicide, betrayal, divorce, loss, self-identity crisis, survival, and ancestral skeletons. Write about what you know, they say.

There’s a richness running through the songs with dark, multi-layered narratives that course through every twist and turn. Dirty fuzzed-up rock and roll meet blues, garage, desert rock and a Southern Gothic sensibility. Sombre storytelling is etched into their songs with unflinching honesty. For Chris Tapp and Brian Mullins, authenticity is their hallmark

Talking about the song Tapp says; “Heavy Shoes is a metaphor for something that is weighing you down. Could be a relationship, an addiction, or just something you can’t let go of. That feeling of every step being heavier than the last and not being able to carry the baggage any further. Heavy Shoes was the first song I had written for the album, and kind of a template we wanted to use for the rest of the record.  Heavy, bluesy, straight ahead and honest.” 

He continues; “What you hear on the track is the first take we did at Sam Phillips Studio in Memphis. If I remember right,  it might have been the first song we recorded as well.  I think I went back and recut some vocals and maybe part of the solo in late 2020 at my home studio, but the song is about as live and real as a studio session can be.”

“We shot the video in a old church from the 1800’s. The church was abandoned, and in the 1980’s it was set for destruction when a woman bought it. The lady had the church moved about a mile down the road to her property and slowly started to preserve it. It’s cool that today it’s structurally sound, but they haven’t changed anything from on the interior from the day the church closed its doors. Like a lot of places I love, you can feel the memories and peoples experiences in the walls,” he adds.

The Nuggets-era psychedelic garage-rock In The Night Time was inspired by the southern gothic city of St Augustine, Florida. “The whole city is a graveyard. So many Spaniards are buried there,” singer-guitarist Tapp says. “When you’re walking the streets, it’s like you’re walking on the graves. I was visualising walking late at night, with things in the shadows coming alive, and it’s joyous.”   The day of the dead inspired narrative and visuals ties into the incredible cover-art by Corey Booth (Rick & Morty).

“I’m writing from the point of Edgar Allan Poe and William Faulkner. It needs to have weight to it,” he explains. “There’s not really anything that bothers me to talk about. When you don’t allow yourself to be human and say what’s happened to you, then you make other people that are going through tough shit think that they’re alone.”

Tapp hasn’t been dealt the easiest cards in life. Aged ten he discovered he was adopted, “for a long time, I kinda felt I was alone.” His grandfather, who he “emphatically loved”, was a significant influence. “He dealt with depression his whole life. Music brought him joy. Because he valued it, it felt natural to me to value it.” He ended up taking his own life, and it was Chris who found him, “it was difficult then, and it’s been difficult since,” he says. “Ninety-nine per cent of the time, he was laughing. But he had this dark side, and maybe there’s a little bit of that dark side in me.

“That’s a heavy component of my life, and that creeps into the songs. It’s sometimes easier for me to think about it in a song with characters than it is for me to just think about it.”

As a child, his grandfather told him about his great-grandfather, who ran moonshine during prohibition. When no one in the family would discuss that period, he decided to go to do his own research, and discovered that during this, the local Sheriff and Deputy visited his great-grandfather’s house and assaulted his great-aunt.  To protect his family, the next time, he hid under the porch until the Sheriff and Deputy returned. He then shot them both dead on the porch. He spent six days in jail and was released. This trauma shook the family and Tapp lived in that home during his twenties. “My great-aunt lived to be 103 and, just before she passed away, in the last couple of years, she started to talk to me about it.”

Tapp was diagnosed with Stage 3 Cancer in 2009 and given six months to live. 18 months of radiation and chemotherapy followed. “Now I feel like I’m saying what I want to say a little bit more concisely and elegantly,” he concludes.

Recorded largely at Sam Phillips Recording Studio, Memphis – with the remaining at their studio in Indiana – this Memphis vibe has seeped into the record. How could it not – the music, the history, the people, the Mississippi river. Mixed by Mark Needham (The Killers) and mastered by Andy Vandette (Beastie Boys/Smashing Pumpkins), Heavy Shoes is their heaviest record yet.

You want authenticity, take one long cold hard stare at these two. The Cold Stares are a rock ‘n’ roll band, but they take a sledgehammer to the foundation to reveal the cracks that are suppressed within it. With that, allowing themselves to be raw and open to show that, we are not alone.

Heavy Shoes track list

  1. Heavy Shoes
  2. 40 Dead Men
  3. Take This Body From Me
  4. Hard Times
  5. In The Night Time
  6. Strange Light
  7. Prosecution Blues
  8. It’s A Game
  9. Save You From You
  10. You Wanted Love
  11. Election Blues
  12. Dust In My Hands
  13. Hard Times

THE COLD STARES online: