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Now Hear This: Narrow Head | 12th House Rock

I'm still getting caught up on all the good albums I missed last week. Like this one.

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THE PRESS RELEASE: “Nobody has riffs anymore,” says founding member/vocalist/guitarist Jacob Duarte when asked about his approach on 12th House Rock, Narrow Head’s second LP. “That’s the kind of band we are and to me, that’s just how you write songs. Drums, bass, guitar, vocals. Nothing else. There are no other instruments on the record.” The Houston-based band’s latest entry is the distillation of the greatest moments in 90’s alternative and hard rock with a fresh set of ears, thirteen tracks of their signature brand of bludgeoning lullabies bursting at the seams with creative ideas, new directions and yes, massive, monolithic riffs. In between the sparkle and smash, open-hearted and emotionally naked songwriting showcases a core piece of the band’s identity — showcasing 12th House Rock as one of the best releases of 2020. “It’s the definitive work of Narrow Head,” proudly explains bassist Ryan Chavez. “Recorded in a studio over a month’s span, the way they used to do it. Not just for the sake of making it that way, but because it was the right way for us.” Delving into deep-seated themes of self loathing, desolation, self-medication, the loss of loved ones and hopeful redemption, 12th House Rock is, as the title suggests, a rock-focused LP themed on transition — exploring the vast abyss of darkness just before the sun cracks upon the horizon. “A lot of the record was made in the late hours and early morning,” recalls Duarte. ”Those quiet moments alone when utter silence and my self-medication made it impossible to escape from my own thoughts. It was also from a specific time when I didn’t take care of myself and made bad decisions in all aspects of my life. These songs were a way out, temporarily anyway.” The band’s second and highly-anticipated LP was self-produced and born of close to a hundred takes with no click track, vocal correction, drum samples or quantizing, resulting in thirteen testaments to pulverizing pop clocking in above 50 minutes. Initially only Duarte, guitarist William Menjivar and drummer Carson Wilcox in 2018, the trio of old friends entered the studio with a batch of songs intending to write bass parts on the fly. “I have known Jacob and Carson since childhood and they are the most talented musicians — total prodigies,” states Menjivar. The three looked to build an LP that reflected current tastes as well as “music [they] looked up to as kids,” according to Menjivar, adding their own twist on the entirety of it.”