What Studio 52 Says: By infusing the muddy, powerful guitar-riff-prominent characteristics of blues with the driving force of punk, and outfitting it with the personality of Boston indie rock, Dead Trains have established an authentic sound labeled by fans as “Hillybilly Hardcore.” Formed by high school friends Matt Axten (vocals, guitar) and Natan Keyes (bass) they later brought on drummer Steve Olson, and the amount the trio has complemented each other’s styles and pushed the band to evolve in the five years they’ve been active is nothing short of exceptional.
Their 2013 EP Break ’em on Down had largely a straightforward blues/punk feel; fast forward to 2017’s Big Fun where the aptly named “Shake ’em on Down” transitions seamlessly between 7/4, 11/8, and 4/4 time. The bridge between those two releases was constructed with 2015 EP 32/20 and 2016 full length Country Road Bound, and both exhibit the pounding aggression they’ve been marinating blues in since the bands creation. Each release has elements that are unique unto themselves, but all four fall under the same umbrella of blues/punk/indie rock known as Dead Trains.
We spoke a little with the developers of Hillybilly Hardcore, and they told us a bit about what fans can expect from the future of Dead Trains. “We’ve released a small handful of EP’s at this point, and done a few national tours,” says Axten “We recently finished recording a new EP at Guilford Sound in VT, which we’re very excited about, and are just waiting for it to be mastered.”
Olson adds: “This new EP is so different but at the same time feels like a perfectly natural progression. We’ve brought a little element of improvisation into the fold and recorded everything but vocals live like we have our other couple EP’s, so it really packs a new feel while at least to me, sounds like Dead Trains.”
“We have great chemistry as musicians and as people,” says Axten, “but we can rarely agree on what to listen to in the car because our musical tastes are actually quite divergent, in some cases even antipathetic.”
Although the trio may argue about what to listen to on those long rides to shows, it’s a small price to pay for Dead Trains’ unique sound which can likely be attributed to their diverse musical tastes. A vast blend of influences has built the foundation for their direction, and allowed them to flourish with originality as they continue writing music. Don’t miss Dead Trains tonight (Friday, October 19), as they’ll be shaking up Allston alongside Oroboro and Rough Cuts, but you’ll have to message one of the bands to find out where! — Trevor McSweeney, Studio 52