Nothing quite evokes wistful weariness like a steel guitar. Coupled with the delicate vocals of guitarist/singer Carter King, Athens, Ga.-based Futurebirds use it to unreel a brand of countrified rock that calls to mind too-hot evenings in sad small towns.
The quintet's third studio album, Hotel Parties (Easy Sound, 2015), is a collection of sometimes jangly, sometimes twangy, somewhat psychedelic tracks colored by King's style, which carries a hint of Neal Young. Opening track "Paranoia Letters" features Futurebirds' signature dreamy, soaring melodies stretching on forever—a la REM—complete with majestic guitar bends. The title track has King at his Neal Young-iest, his lilting, high-register delivery ideal for narrative-rich lyrics exploring the rambling life of a musician, loneliness and self-medication. Catch Futurebirds when it wings into town.