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Good Old War will release their fourth studio album and first on Nettwerk Records, Broken Into Better Shape. Produced by Jason Lehning (Mat Kearney, Dolly Parton), and featuring lead single “Tell Me What You Want From Me,” it follows critically acclaimed Come Back As Rain, which debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers, and led to national TV performances on Jimmy Kimmel Live! & Conan. Good Old War has earned the loyalty of an ever-expanding fan base thanks to their captivating live shows touring along side a diverse group of artists including Alison Krauss, Guster, Brandi Carlisle and Dr. Dog.
On the journey, they creatively cover new ground.
“Throughout the whole process, there was an undercurrent of being displaced, because I moved four times,” says Ben.
“While we were on the search, we let go of what we thought Beta Radio should sound like, experimented, and started simply pursuing what we like,” adds Brent. “For the first time, we utilized samples, an Una Corda, and old Juno 60 synthesizers from the eighties. We really expanded our sound.”
These lifelong friends carefully developed the sound over the course of two independent LPs. After quietly stirring a local buzz, 2014’s Colony of Bees marked a major breakthrough. Huffington Post touted the record among its “40 Best Albums of 2014,” while the single “On The Frame” generated 31 million cumulative Spotify streams between the original and acoustic versions. “Sitting Room” surpassed 11 million, and “I Am Mine” crossed the 4-million-mark. Meanwhile, they frequently occupied coveted real estate on high traffic playlists such as Soft Focus, Afternoon Acoustic, Happy Folk, The Most Beautiful Songs in the World, Calm Vibes, and more. As their profile organically grew, they released the holiday compilation, The Songs the Season Brings, Vol. 1-4.
By 2016, the musicians could focus on their next offering as they moved into a proper studio in downtown Wilmington.
“We both wanted to be doing Beta Radio full-time and, thankfully, we were finally able to,” continues Brent. “We’d recorded the past two records at home studios. With a proper studio and this newfound time, it was a seamless transition.”
Inspired by everything from The Arrival soundtrack to a re-reading of Slaughterhouse Five, the guys carefully crafted the music comprising Ancient Transition. The first single “Our Remains” illuminated a spark of inspiration. Off-time beats and ukulele bristle against strings as Ben’s delicate delivery captivates. It culminates on the thought-provoking refrain, “I’m wearing your remains.”
“The time signature forced us to think differently,” Ben admits. “In terms of the meaning, I had a very brief relationship with someone, but it didn’t go the way I thought it was going to go. I looked for home in this person and wasn’t finding it there.”
The opener “Tongue Tied” tempers electric guitar and broken Wurlitzer mixed with vibraphone. In order to achieve the warm echo, Ben sang into the guitar pickups, conjuring an airy vibe.
“In broad strokes, it touches on the idea that something’s missing,” he goes on. “You know there’s more you’re not seeing, yet you can’t find it. I don’t know what’s missing, but I’ve got to figure it out.”
Violin and banjo underscore a heavenly and hypnotic melody on the entrancing “Realistic City Living.”
“We like to add different instruments in unexpected ways,” says Brent. “The sonic palette is really rich. It makes for a record you can listen to from beginning to end. That was important to us.”
As they keep searching, Beta Radio ultimately offer a powerful reassurance on Ancient Transition.
“When people listen to this, I’d love for them to walk away feeling known,” Ben leaves off. “Art should reflect our humanity back to us. That’s definitely a big ambition for us. On the other end of the spectrum, we just hope listeners enjoy it.”
Allman Brown is a London-based singer-songwriter influenced by the likes of Bon Iver, James Vincent McMorrow and Sufjan Stevens. Since announcing himself onto the scene in 2013 with the ‘Sons And Daughters’ EP (the lead track of which recently surpassed 3.5 million streams on Spotify), he has built a solid fanbase on both sides of the Atlantic through a number of his songs being featured on notable TV dramas in both the UK and US. His debut album ‘1000 Years’ is available now.