The road took them from California to North Carolina and dozens of gas stations and smoky bars in between. But after a national tour that ended this fall, the founding members of Particle Devotion are still firmly rooted at home in Baton Rouge.
Tucked into a corner of French Truck Coffee on Government Street, they’re explaining to us their sophomore album, Millennial Trash, when Varsity Theatre sound and lighting tech Luke Traxler stumbles upon our table. It’s an instant and enthusiastic reunion for several members of the Baton Rouge music scene, and Traxler is quick to sing their praises.
“No lie, I’ve had their first album in the CD player in my car for two years,” Traxler tells us.
“Yeah, we made it a little thick on purpose, so it would get stuck like that,” quips Particle Devotion guitarist Ryan Erwin, who also produced the album.
The two years since their self-titled debut have been filled with hotel rooms, cheap meals, a newly rooted network of friends and collaborators in Austin, appearances at SXSW supporting shows and national recognition. They’ve applied all that experience to their new LP, out this month on Old Flame Records/Earthship Records.
“[Touring] brought us closer together,” lead vocalist and songwriter Brian Bell says. “I think we understand each other a lot more through living on the road together and sharing houses together and sleeping on the floor together. Something about playing songs in different cities tightens up the music a little, and I think it made us stronger.”
Millennial Trash brings a newly cemented lineup for the band with Nate Mackowiak on bass, Clyde Bates on synth and keys, and Isaac Johnston on drums.
Compared to the more cinematic 2015 debut, it’s a shift toward dirtier, grungier garage-rock sounds. Erwin describes it as “louder, but shorter.”
While Particle Devotion ended with a rambling soundscape, Millennial Trash finishes with a smash-cut to black.
“The first album was very vulnerable,” Bell says. “This one is a lot more earnest and desperate, less flowery.”
“It’s darker, but it’s lighter,” Erwin adds. “It’s more sarcastic. It’s more jaded.”
Erwin mixed the album at Baton Rouge Music Studios, and the rambling band will play a hometown album release show at Mid City Ballroom this month (see info at right). Then they’ll hit the road for regional, East Coast and West Coast tours.
But for now, it’s good to be home. particledvtn.com
This article was originally published in the January 2018 issue of 225 Magazine.