Shovels & Rope get raw on their new album "O' Be Joyful" (Critical love and documentary updates)

Image by Photo by Sully Sullivan

Updates are at the bottom

Shovels & Rope, the Charleston-based band comprised of husband and wife duo Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent, have a new album dropping on July 31. Better yet, the entire "O' Be Joyful" album was recorded by themselves using a single microphone.

Now that's some rock 'n' roll shit right there.

Raw, twangy, haunting and heavy - the 11-songs on O' Be Joyful have the distinct sound that Shovels & Rope fans have come to adore. What's new, at least in the live shows I've had the chance to see, is that singer/songwriters Hearst and Trent are incorporating heavy distortion and sweet piano sounds with the addition of a Korg synthesizer. You'll hear them rocking it out on the song "Hail Hail" which is reminiscent of the Black Keys' "Gold On The Ceiling" as well as the ballad "Carnival."

The creative chemistry of Hearst and Trent as individuals is undeniable. The creative chemistry between them as a couple is just plain fun. This album, the second as the collaborative band Shovels & Rope, is comprised of the most songs the two have ever written together - many of which were written on the road during their busy 2011 touring schedule. According to an interview with Dualtone Records:

The synthetic bass on the record's opening track "Birmingham" was recorded next to the sink at a Red Roof Inn near New Haven, CT. The organ solo on "Shank Hill St. was tracked in the van at approximately 70 mph somewhere on I-10 between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. And while sharing a bill in Louisville, KY, the electric Amanda Shires was wrangled into the duo's van to add fiddle parts to “Keeper” and “This Means War” in between soundcheck and showtime.

Shovels & Rope have already released the single "Birmingham" on iTunes and you can go ahead and pre-order O' Be Joyful on iTunes as well. For a free preview of the album (a streaming version, sorry pirates!) and an interview with the band, check out MTV Hive's feature.

And don't forget folks, The Moving Picture Boys of Nashville, Tennessee have been shooting a documentary on Shovels & Rope. You can watch the trailer and read more about the documentary here.

If you missed their recent run at Charleston Pour House, they'll be back and you can catch them live at the Pour House on August 18. Get you some.

Update August 14: If you still haven't had a chance to take a listen to the new Shovels & Rope album, maybe The Huffington Post's rave review of the album will set you straight.

The author, Michael Bialas sums it up well:

The first product of this Odd Couple-like relationship is O' Be Joyful (Dualtone Records), a homemade record seared with country rock and punk influences. Their 11 well-crafted songs, some that belong in a Coen Brothers movie, include double shots full of piss and vinegar.

In other Shovels & Rope news, The Moving Picture Boys' documentary on the band, "The Ballad of Shovels and Rope" will be wrapping up production the rockumentary at The Charleston Pour House this Saturday at the O' Be Joyful CD release party!

Check out the teaser to tide you over.