Artist Discovery: Consequence of Sound & Quiet Corral

You’ve seen the lineup, now learn a bit more about the bands set to perform at ACL this October. We’ve partnered with some of the most in-the-know music writers on the web to bring you the weekly Artist Discovery Series. This week, Consequence of Sound‘s Megan Ritt introduces us to the folk rock sounds of Kansas-based Quiet Corral. Guitar-heavy folk rock has become as quintessential to American summers as baseball, apple pie, and beer. For those hoping to ride that summer sound as far into autumn as possible, Austin City Limits starts off with a hearty serving of Americana from indie folk rockers Quiet Corral. The six-piece band out of Lawrence, Kansas will help warm the Austin Ventures stage for the likes of Trampled by Turtles, Black Lips, and M. Ward. With a sound like a harder-rocking Mumford & Sons, Quiet Corral is poised to make an impact with their long-delayed full-length, following a late 2010 self-titled EP (the as-yet untitled full-length would’ve been finished sooner, says guitarist Isaac Flynn, but the band is self-producing the record and has been “splitting time between touring and recording”). After hearing that EP, one could be forgiven for assuming that Quiet Corral must have prior releases; though the members have been playing together only two years, their music evinces a strong sense of identity. Part of that cohesiveness is due to the band’s multi-talented players. Their personnel list is full of backslashes, each member playing several roles in the band’s sound, united behind the constant of lead vocalist Jesse Braswell Roberts. Roberts’ voice is like a richer, less nasal version of the Decemberists’ Colin Meloy, and his vocals guide the band through both softer folk ballads and guitar-heavy rock tracks. “Lonely Company” from Quiet Corral, employs both of those styles in turn, knitting them together with harmonic vocal runs that captivate the ear. “Reverie” is an epic builder of a slow song whose chorus could easily soundtrack a film promo. “You can’t/ can you/ Can’t seem to lose/ ghosts that follow you,” Roberts intones, a wall of backing harmony lending gravitas. “One, Two, Three, Oh” focuses on acoustic guitar and skillful vocal blending that calls to mind Milo Greene’s recent debut. “City Steep,” off the forthcoming LP, is available on Quiet Corral’s Bandcamp page and displays the sextet’s increased focus. “When we recorded the EP, we had played together for such a short period of time… it was simply trying to record all the songs we had,” explains vocalist and acoustic guitarist Garrett Childers. “With this new album, we’ve had longer to write and choose what songs to use, and I feel that we have created a more cohesive piece of work without sacrificing the diversity of the EP.” That increased confidence is evident on “City Steep,” which features strong percussive guitar work. “I’m gonna build/ build my tower tall,” Roberts sings with country-rock swagger. Quiet Corral cites influences from the obvious (Tom Petty and Wilco) to the surprising (Sigur Rós and OutKast), and the band members themselves “span a decade” in age. This wide range of perspectives may be what yields the band’s accessible and addictive sound; after they’re lodged firmly in your head, you’ll start to think you’ve heard tracks like “Thieves” and “Reverie” somewhere before. And actually, if you were at Wakarusa or Free Press Summer Fest this year, you might’ve. The band also had its first foray into SXSW this year, which Flynn describes as “absolute chaos, but carrying gear through hundreds of intoxicated pedestrians is something all up-and-coming bands need to experience.” Childers admits that the band is “a little extra excited” for ACL, at which they plan to debut more new material and later catch sets by Neil Young, Gary Clark Jr., and The Black Keys. “I’m probably only slightly more excited to play than to get the opportunity to watch all these other sweet bands for three days,” he confesses.