The Music Man: ‘Transgressor’ takes Quiet Company to the next level

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Being a band in a city with a great music scene can be a blessing and a curse. Some bands, like Quiet Company — a power-rock band from Austin, Texas — play off their music scenes so well that the two become nearly intertwined. With its thought-provoking and heavy sound, large presence at Austin’s premiere music festival, South by Southwest (including 11 Austin Music Award wins), and critical acclaim for albums like “We Are All Where We Belong,” Quiet Company is the poster child for a successful band from Austin — and now, the band can only expand its sphere of influence.

“It’s a really great place to be from,” lead vocalist/guitarist Taylor Muse said via phone. “A really supportive community. The level of quality coming out of that scene is so high that it kind of forces everybody to change their game.”

Muse began Quiet Company with a rotating live lineup before creating a permanent band that now includes multi-instrumentalist Tommy Blank, bassist Matt Parmenter and keyboardist Bill Gryta. The band is now fresh off the release of its fourth full-length album and follow-up to “We Are All Where We Belong,” “Transgressor.”

Quiet Company took its time with releasing the album — waiting nearly three and a half years, and using that time to re-record its debut, “Shine Honesty,” and record an extended play of covers. “Transgressor” was well worth the wait, though, as all the songs are up to par with previous hits like “You, Me, & the Boatman.”

With “We Are All Where We Belong,” Quiet Company had a clear theme — Muse had given up his Christian faith — and the album dealt heavily with that. In following such a record, Muse had concerns.

“The thing that I worried about with [“We Are All Where We Belong”] is that record is a concept record about losing faith in religion and moving on from that so, because it was about that topic, a lot of people connected to that,” Muse said. “I guess the concern for me was writing another record that wasn’t about that anymore.”

“Transgressor” still proves connectable, though. While it may not have as central of a concept as “We Are All Where We Belong,” it deals with things everyone experiences — love, hurting and  all of the feelings in between.

“It’s a little bit all over the place,” Muse said. “A lot of the songs just came out of having a really tough year … There are definitely themes there.”

Combined with the actual music, the songs reach a whole new level. Many of them keep with Quiet Company’s reputation of guitar-driven, anthemic music, but some, such as “Kindness” and “Wherever You Take Me,” experiment with more acoustic stylings.

Quiet Company recorded “Transgressor” in only 14 days, with the entire band playing together for each track.

“Eventually we kind of felt like we had a really good thing going,” Muse said. “Writing all in the same room really shaped it into more of a live record.”

From the opener of the album, “Seven Hells,” this powerful live sound makes itself apparent, providing a great backdrop for lyrics that establish one of the album’s themes outright — “make peace with all your demons.” “Understand the Problem,” the album’s first single, bridges the gap between Quiet Company’s previous work and “Transgressor” by establishing an energy similar to some of its past music through sweeping guitar chords while adding prominent synths and Muse’s lyrics. The band brings out some acoustic guitars for “Kindness,” and the song’s calmer nature allows Muse’s beautifully sweet vocals and lyrics to take center stage. “Midnight At the Dairy Palace” closes the album epically, building a perfect progression upon strong guitars, a strings section and belted vocals.

Quiet Company will bring this sound to Kansas City on Wednesday, May 6, to open for Wolf Alice at the recordBar for alternative radio station 96.5 The Buzz’s “Buzz Under the Stars Pre-Party” (an 18+ show). Muse and the band look forward to coming back to the city after previously opening for Moon Taxi at the Riot Room in 2013.

“We’re really excited,” Muse said. “We’re going to play with Wolf Alice, which is a really great band … We’re excited to get up there and be a part of the show.”

Although Quiet Company will be busy touring for a bit, I can’t wait to hear what else the band and Muse have up their sleeves. “Transgressor” sets the stage for the band’s rise to popularity outside of the Austin music scene but, no matter what, Muse will continue making music with Quiet Company.

“I hope [fans] expect us to continue to play really awesome shows and make awesome records and be a household name,” Muse said. “We’re going to keep doing what we do … We’ll never stop.”

P.S. So, my past few blogs have been a bit different because of some awesome opportunities I’ve gotten as of late — reviewing a concert by The Mowgli’s, reviewing a second concert by Jungle and now interviewing Taylor Muse of Quiet Company. I just figured I ought to assure you that I will be back to writing my usual music commentary next week, so stay tuned for that. For now, here are some song recommendations from me to hold you over (organized by genre too — you can thank me later):

Pop: “Nobody Love” by Tori Kelly

Rock: “Moaning Lisa Smile” by Wolf Alice (who, as mentioned above, will headline the “Buzz Under the Stars Pre-Party” with Quiet Company)

Alternative: “Depreston” by Courtney Barnett

Electronic: “Painted” by MS MR

R&B: “Earned It” by The Weeknd

Hip-hop: “Truffle Butter” by Nicki Minaj featuring Drake and Lil’ Wayne

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