Born of youth, yearning and restless nights—some spent alone and many more with friends—this Nashville-based quintet delivers finely crafted garage-pop layered with droll, witty lyrics that seem to mock what it feels like to trudge through the ages of 20 to 29.
Pulling inspiration from such icons as Elvis Costello, Weezer and Butch Walker, their new EP, Tender Age, “is just the band tearing pages out of the pop playbook,” says frontman Garreth Spinn. Their two previously released EPs, Asterisk and Lighten Up (the latter on 7” vinyl via South Division records) gave the band an opportunity to find a home in the pop genre while walking the balance beam between grit and blithe indifference.
The group formed right out of college and gained significant local interest almost immediately following the release of Asterisk. Recorded in a “big boy studio, live to analog tape,” says Spinn, Asterisk began their regressive approach to making records. Lighten Up was tracked at a makeshift home studio by an experienced engineer, and their latest, Tender Age, was written, recorded and produced in the band's home practice space by bassist Mark Bullock with almost no outside influence. The result is a twenty-minute cohesive pop anthem devoted to the bumpy, oftentimes forced ride into adulthood—not to mention their best work to date.
With three albums and a mini tour under their belt, The Joy of Painting boys are devoted to their craft and strive to maintain a breakneck pace. Hitting shelves only 15 months after their debut album, Tender Age was produced in almost no time at all. “We set up shop one free day in February,” Spinn says, “and me Mark and Chris (drums) bashed out all seven songs in twelve hours.” Their tunnel vision focus didn’t end as they fleshed out the seven tracks with keys, guitars, horns and vocals to see the album through to its completion.
Always fast, always upbeat, these guys are successful in making their music fun both live and recorded. Plus, you can count on them to make the turmoil of the twenties seem a little less heavy.