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Steam Train Hearts – live – Photo Credit: Adam T. Lewis
Indie-pop enthusiast Wallace Dietz of the Silent Boys has united with swamp/punk/noir-a-billy guitarist Bruce Smith of Dismal Swamp Lords to form Steam Train Hearts, a melodically charged indie rock band.
Smith and Dietz are partners at Sound Of Music studios in Richmond, VA with engineer John Morand, who has produced bands like Honor Role, the Saints, Cracker, Sparklehorse, and more.
Their debut album, titled Smoke & Cinder will enthusiastically chug its way into the station in mid-October.
For the full-length recording, Smith recruited human metronome Blee Child and bass aficionado Kyle Hermann (Imaginary Sons). The musical troupe recorded the LP back in the summer of 2017, then set it aside for a while as running the studio required more attention.
But the pull of creating a Steam Train Hearts album was too strong and eventually they all got together to finish it up and are now ready to gear up for its release. Big Takeover is pleased to host the premiere of the video for the tuneful title track.
“Smoke & Cinder” is a brisk and melodic jangle pop-rock number with gritty and driving guitar lines, low-end bass push, a prominent drum beat, and lively cymbals hits. Deitz exclaims “I promise not to stop” and goes “full steam ahead”, just like the track, plowing through inward-looking lyrics about self-doubt and moving forward with hope even amid life’s uncertainty.
The delightful music video, which was created by Dietz’s wife, is crafted from rolling-forward panels of still images that create a live feel. The thick-ink hand-drawn animations are of a train moving down the line and speeding through the countryside.
There are also brief views of the band performing, but the main focus is on the intricate machinery of the steam train and its travels through a landscape filled with bright green, leafy trees, a cerulean blue sky dotted with white clouds, tall farm buildings and farming equipment, and adventure-seeker Deitz hanging on to the train and riding the rails.
Deitz reveals, ““I ride the rails to prove I am too wild to be tamed.” When I was in college, I chased down and hopped freight trains for thousands of miles around the country, but my love for adventure was soon overtaken by my affection for a girl I had met at a Halloween party. I turned up the rhythm guitar extra loud on this track so that I could feel the rumbling of trains. I still love trains and that girl.”