Shreveport, Louisiana’s Seratones – fronted by the gospel-trained powerhouse frontwoman A.J. Haynes – released their remarkable debut album in 2016, leading to mass critical praise, a national television debut on CBS This Morning, an NPR Music Tiny Desk concert, as well as tours with the likes of Charles Bradley, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, and more. Today the band announce POWER, their first new album in 3+ years, first featuring a new member line-up, first record with New West and first record produced by Cage The Elephant’s Bradley Shultz. “We went through a pretty dramatic shift with this record,” says Haynes. “The band lineup, the creative process, the sound: all of it changed in ways that really reflected our growth and evolution.” On this album, Haynes showcases how vulnerability can be powerful, as her songs explore her years fighting for reproductive rights and serving as a counselor at one of Louisiana’s last remaining abortion providers, her advocacy for racial equality, her struggles to adapt and overcome, her love of poetry, and much more. Seratones’ sophomore album POWERwill be released on August 23rd – pre-order HERE.
The album’s first single “Gotta Get To Know Ya,” highlights the masterful sonic leap on this record. A song about Haynes’ “ever-lingering anxiety about global warming” and her “electric need to dance in order to escape said existential doom,” “Gotta Get To Know Ya” is out now, accompanied by an incredible Danielle Calodney-directed music video. Check it out now via Billboard HERE.
Known for their exemplary live shows, Seratones also announce a North American tour today. Tickets go on-sale tomorrow at 11 am EST – see below to find a show near you, and get your tickets HERE.
One listen to POWER, Seratones’ spectacular sophomore album, and it’s clear just how much of an evolution has taken place. Recorded in Nashville at Battle Tapes, POWER finds the Shreveport five-piece trading in the brash proto-punk and garage rock ferocity of their critically acclaimed debut for a timeless brand of gritty soul, one that takes its cues from vintage Motown and Stax even as it flirts with modern synthesizers and experimental arrangements. Haynes’ captivating voice, first honed at Brownsville Baptist Church in Louisiana, remains front and center here, but her delivery this time around is more measured and self-assured than ever before, a beacon of confidence and clarity amidst a sea of social and political turmoil.
“With this album, I knew that I really wanted to draw from the pantheon of soul music,” says Haynes. “Soul was what I danced to in the kitchen with my mother. It’s what I’d come home at night and listen to on my record player. Things are really heightened and scary and overwhelming in this country right now, and returning to soul music was a way of reaching for comfort and security in all of that.” That’s whySeratones set one simple rule for themselves before laying down a single note: don’t mess with the groove.
Perhaps even more marked than the any sonic development on the record, though, is Haynes’ lyrical turn, which points her gaze inwards for the first time as she grapples with race, gender, and justice, writing with an unfiltered honesty that at once exudes strength and vulnerability, hope and despair, beauty and pain. “I learned to tap more into my own stories with these songs,” says Haynes. “I came to recognize that I have this lineage and these inherited experiences that are beautiful and worthy of exploration.” Some of those personal experiences include Haynes work fighting for reproductive rights in Louisiana. “I’m terrified by what women endure,” she explains. “I’m in awe of what women survive. I’m humbled by what women build.”
For all its bold confidence, though, POWER ultimately recognizes that we still exist at the mercy of forces far greater than ourselves, historic and systemic structures and institutions designed to strip away agency from the most vulnerable among us. “Sometimes, when you’re in the thick of the struggle, it’s hard to see the possibility of change,” Haynes reflects, “but you keep striving nonetheless. Some call it faith. I have yet to find the right words, but I’m still trying.”
6/4 – Kansas Cirty, MO @ Crossroads KC*
6/7 – St. Louis, MO @ The Pageant*
6/8 – Indianapolis, IN @ Indianapolis Symphony*
8/22 – Dallas, TX @ Three Links
8/23 – Austin, TX @ Stubb’s Jr.
8/24 – El Paso, TX @ Lowbrow Palace
8/26 – Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar
8/27 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo
8/29 – San Francisco, CA @ Cafe Du Nord
8/31 – McMinnville, OR @ Walnut City Music Festival