“The first word that comes to mind is ‘mega-chill,’” says Danny Davis (frontman for indie rockers Husbands) of his new home and life. Prior to releasing Cuatro, Husbands’ fourth full-length, Davis (a native of Oklahoma City) quit his 9-to-5 engineering gig and moved to Costa Rica, where he also works as the audio engineer for a yoga app. In fact, Cuatro’s most recent single — “Super New China,” a beachy ‘90s alt-rocker – was named for the supermarket, owned by a second-generation Chinese family, that Davis and his wife walk a mile and a half down the beach to visit once a week to load up on supplies. During a recent phone chat, Davis describes their move to Costa Rica as, “a big-time recharge.”
Danny’s location isn’t the only thing that’s changed since Husbands’ previous LP, 2022’s Full-On Monet. Cuatro is also the first Husbands album for Davis to take on without longtime bandmate and collaborator Wil Norton. I ask Danny if this recent shift had him trying new things, and he laughs and tells me, “It’s almost the opposite of trying new things. In the past, it was Wil pushing me to try new things, and pushing me out of my comfort zone.” He explains that, for Cuatro, he was finally doing the things that his gut and instincts had been telling him to do for years: “It’s what I always wanted to do. It’s like doing old things all the way.” Although, he does admit that he more than welcomed Norton’s way of encouraging him to work: “I do miss that challenging perspective. On the next record, I’ve got plans to go back to challenging myself.”
After self-releasing albums for years, Cuatro is the first Husbands album being marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers, who have handled a plethora of PHILTHY phriends, like Greensky Bluegrass, Heartless Bastards, Overcoats, Parker Millsap, Riddy Arman, Tennis, and Yoke Lore. “I look at the roster, and it’s bands that I’ve looked up to forever, like Dr. Dog,” Davis says of Thirty Tigers, before going on to add, “David Macian, the president, is a super intelligent, giving kind of person.” However, he does admit that the process has proven to be a bit of a transition: “There are some growing pains with releasing a record the ‘right’ way, which is still something we’re kind of learning [laughs].”
Husbands — whose live band also consists of bassist Zach Zeller and drummer Alberto Roubert – are currently about two-thirds of the way through a North American tour, which will have them headlining Johnny Brenda’s this Sunday, November 12th. And the sounds of Cuatro seem to be made to be played live. When I ask Davis how he feels the album compares to previous releases, he tells me, “It’s maybe a level up. We were amping up the energy and amping up the bigness levels,” and says that fans can expect to hear at least half of the new record live. When we spoke, Husbands were just a few dates into the tour, which had them playing smaller markets, but Davis tells me the crowds were already really wowing the band: “It’s really rewarding having them sing along to the new record! My favorite thing to see while playing a show is people singing along.”
Danny Davis and co. have played the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection before (They played MilkBoy just last February.), which Danny tells me has been super fun. He also tells me that Philly may be where he first met Meredith Lampe, of Brooklyn indie rockers Work Wife (“I met her in Brooklyn or Philly,” Davis confesses.), who will be joining Husbands at Johnny Brenda’s, and providing support for the remainder of Husbands’ US dates, which Davis tells me he’s quite excited about: “We’re super psyched to play with her… The best part of this is that we try to pick people that we like and we respect.”
This run of dates wraps up November 19th in Atlanta (not including a December 9th “hometown” show in Oklahoma City), before Husbands return to the road next year. “We have a tour early next year, in February, so we’ll have two months off between this tour and that,” says Davis, who tells me that, as much as he’s loving playing these new songs live, he is excited for this time off, as well: “We’ve been on tour for almost the whole year, and when I’m on the road, I don’t have as much time to sit down and write thoughtfully… I’m just stoked to get back to my house and write music. My favorite part of music is writing the songs.”
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