Tennessee rockers Rough Dreams have honed an infectious brand of grunge-infused punk that transports us back to the good old days of the 90s with a little early 2000s emo thrown in for good measure.
The Knoxville quartet of Jake Jones (vocals and guitar), Chris Suggs (vocals and guitar), Matt Isbell (bass) and Paul Lowe (drums) came about when Jake and Paul were rehearsing with an old band for a reunion show.
As Jake explains: “We remembered how much we loved playing together and decided to start a side project apart from the current bands we were playing in. We were having so much fun that we recruited some other musicians (Chris and eventually Matt) that we’d known for years in our local scene and just started writing, recording and touring. It all happened fairly quickly.”
They’ve since honed a sound that Jake describes as: “All the good parts of 90’s grunge/shoegaze mixed with the best parts of late 90’s/early 00’s emo, mixed with the bearded trucker hat wearing midwest punk rock sound.”
In very timely fashion, the band just their debut album Disappear. Reappear. that perfectly encapsulates this diverse sound. Our first taste of it was their fantastic most recent single Cursed At The Sun. The track opens up with driving guitars and drums supporting a delicious little guitar lick. A catchy opening verse develops into a huge chorus that begins “And she ran like the devil and cursed at the sun, Had a soft spot for rebels and boys on the run.”
The twisting opening guitar lick returns and gives way to another verse and chorus, which drops into mellow, drawn-out guitars. Jake’s delicious raspy vocals take over as the guitars pick up pace, a laid-back lick takes over before kicking into a final blast of the chorus.
On the track, Jake told us: “The reception has been great! It’s already become our most played song on all the streaming services and people are already singing along at shows.” Check it out here:
Also fully embracing that “bearded trucker hat wearing midwest punk rock” sound is the delicious Desert Ghosts. It opens up with a whistled intro that develops into a cool instrumental section then laid-back opening verse. The vocals suddenly intensify and the track picks up pace in a big chorus, which drops into more cool instrumentals. Check it out in the video here:
Those two tracks sandwich the also excellent Bridges and Tunnel Fires, while the album is packed with grungy, rocky goodness like First Life Crisis and the catchy Falling Stars.
The Rough Dreams sound has been influenced by a range of punk, emo, rock and metal, including the likes of Rancid, HUM, Hot Water Music, Deftones, Pink Floyd, Saves The Day, Lucero, Thursday, and Blink-182.
And on what inspires them to write music, Jake tells us: “In my opinion, most modern punk is basically just singing about topics people are arguing about on social media. That’s just not fun at all and boring. So basically anything that can help me escape all of that is what inspires me to write.”
You can see Rough Dreams on tour through October, building up to playing Fest 19 in Gainesville, IL, on Halloween.
And Jake adds: “Listen to our new album from start to finish. It’s an ‘album’ not a few singles and some space filler (pun intended).”