It must have been 2006, that time I went to see Do Make Say Think at the Black Cat because I thought I was in the mood for some gloomy post-rock, and ended up not giving a shit—-These United States were the mismatched openers, and they put me in an entirely different place. Back then, the group was a lot more “alt” than “country,” and over the course of several albums they emphasized the latter half of the descriptor more and more. Sometimes not so successfully. And one by one, the members of the group that lived in D.C. drifted away.

To judge by These United States’ riffy new single, “Dead and Gone,” they’re now at least partly in cock-rock mode. And post-D.C., they may be poised for bigger things. Exhibit A) Their new album is self-titled, which is what you do to signal you’ve made a Decisive Statement. Exhibit B) The record includes guest appearances from a bunch of Serious Americana Musicians, including Deer Tick‘s John McCauley and Phosphorescent‘s Matthew Houck, not to mention Mynabirds‘s Laura Burhenn, who’s also a D.C. expat, and a bunch of others. This being 2012, there’s apparently some kind of Mayan-calendar theme, or so says the press release.

These United States is out June 12 via United Interests.

DOWNLOAD: These United States, “Dead and Gone”


Photo by Shervin Lainez