Track Premiere: New Tommy Keene


Powerhouse track plucked from upcoming 10-songer of all new material.

By Blurt Staff

It’s called Laugh in the Dark and it’s the new album on Second Motion Records by power pop auteur Tommy Keene, and it’s been a fixture on the BLURT yacht jukebox here most of the summer. Sometimes a record just gets its hooks in you and you give up trying to resist its charms. Due in early September, the record’s the all-originals follow-up to 2013’s covers collection Excitement at Your Feet, and we feel moved to unveil a fresh track exclusively for you, gentle readers. Check out “Last of the Twilight Girls”:

Keene started writing Laugh in the Dark following the completion of Excitement at Your Feet, which as he explains was a palette-cleansing experience that “freed me up somehow to not be so overly hypersensitive to his influences. Hence you have a direct concoction of the Beatles meet the Who by way of Big Star, with a little Stones for good measure.”

Indeed, “Twilight Girls” channels all those icons—the power chord intro alone is worth its Chilton-Harrison-Townshend-Richards gold—while nevertheless coming off as quintessential Keene. All the elements are in place, from those tuneful guitars and slashing chords to a rhythm section muscling its way forth to Keene’s signature sassy-but-sensitive vocals. And with this, his umpteenth studio album since he first hit the national radar way back in ’84 with the timeless Places That Are Gone, Keene also sounds, to our ears, utterly confident in his own skin—the mark of a veteran rocker and songwriter.

“When you’re younger,” notes Keene, “I think you go out of your way to try and disguise whatever is inspiring you at the moment, but you’re usually fooling no one. At this stage of the game, though, I really couldn’t give a damn if people think I’m aping something too much. Basically I’m writing songs and making records for myself because no one else is doing it!”

Boy howdy to that. Keene will also be touring this fall when the record is released. Dates at his website.


Full disclosure: we just happen to have the inside track here since Keene’s longtime label Second Motion is one of two sister businesses of ours (the other being Raleigh’s Schoolkids Records, a retail store). But by way of an additional disclosure: those of us on the BLURT staff have also been fans of, and writing about, Keene since the early ‘80s so we were already biased in his favor long before our magazine or record label even came into existence, okay?

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