L-R: Frank Keith IV, Tedo Stone, Jeremy Wheatley & Drew Beskin. Photo by Brian Manley.
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While The District Attorneys took their time, casually working on a new album (due out in late 2014), frontman/songwriter Drew Beskin amassed dozens of new songs he wasn’t sure could—or even should—fit The District Attorneys’ sound. “Everything I was writing at the time,” Beskin says, “was dark, honest, therapeutic and true.” During this prolific period, Beskin began to bottle lightning—writing disarmingly intimate, emotionally direct tunes in an attempt to transcend the pain he was feeling in the wake of a bad breakup.
“These songs had to be written,” Beskin says. “At first, they were just for me, and for a long while I did not care if anyone else ever heard them. They poured out of me. They were about turning a negative into a positive.”
Some time after the heart-wrenching period that birthed these songs faded into the rearview, The District Attorneys were invited to play a Valentine’s Day show with Southern rockers Ponderosa at Athens, Ga.’s Caledonia Lounge. Only half of the District Attorneys were available, but instead of declining, Beskin approached musician friends Tedo Stone and Jeremy Wheatley (Crooked Fingers), who joined him alongside District Attorneys bandmates’ Frank Keith IV and Walker Beard. Together, they learned Beskin’s newer, more personal songs, and Party Dolls was born.
With this simpatico group of players, the arrangements came instantly, effortlessly. Within a month’s time, the band made its live debut on Valentine’s Day 2013. The show was so well-received that Party Dolls decided to record an album, working on it in spurts over the course of a year whenever the band was able to gather for a session at bassist/engineer Frank Keith’s home studio in Athens.
Party Dolls’ debut, Love Wars Baby, is slated to drop on Valentine’s Day 2014, exactly one year to the day from the band’s first show. Though still peppered with top-notch rockers, the new album emphasizes acoustic-guitar ballads backed by a big drum sound and sweetened with a healthy dose of cello and piano. Beautiful and haunting, Love Wars Baby captures the more reserved, thoughtful side of The District Attorneys and Tedo Stone. It’s a vehicle for the prolific Beskin’s honest, inventive songwriting, showcased ably by Keith’s skillful engineering. With the anthemic title track and the driving female-harmony-anchored “Indigo,” listening to heartbreaker “A Firecracker” and epically catchy sea-chantey singalong “Sweetheart Moon,” this album is an impressive and revelatory debut from start to finish.
“These songs, and now this album, are and will always be about turning a negative into a positive,” Beskin reaffirms. “It timestamps a very specific point in my life and, for better or worse, I have a record I’m very proud of.”