(image: Dane Abernathy)

January 22, 2015
by Bryne Yancey

Late Bloomer’s 2014 LP Things Change was the most fully-realized collection of songs the band had recorded in their thus far young career. They took distinct spheres of influence—’80s college rock, especially that of their home state, North Carolina; SST’s early turns for roster diversity such as Hüsker Dü and Meat Puppets; guitar-forward ‘90s alternative—and, somewhat ironically to their credit, didn’t try to reinvent those sounds for the 21st century as many attempt to do, so much as simply repurpose and revisit them in a simpler, more classic way. 

Guitarist/vocalist Neil Mauney’s new project Family Friend seems to come from a similar place, though the genres are wildly different. North Carolina, for all its pockets of progressiveness, is sill very much a traditional southern state, and with that upbringing often comes an appreciation—often preceded by an initial adolescent rebellion—of traditional southern music. That means minimal acoustic guitars, swelling violins (or fiddle, if you’re one of us) and simple songs about everyday topics sung with little flair for the dramatic. “Wild Fire,” which will appear on Family Friend’s upcoming eponymous debut, has all of these things, but there’s a certain tinge of modernity creeping in and making it accessible, too. Listen below and pre-order the cassette here.