The Winter Sounds summer in beautiful Brooklyn

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When Patrick Keenan was last in Brooklyn late February 2007, he slept in a moving van down by the Brooklyn Bridge for a week. The lead singer and bassist for the band The Winter Sounds was in town for a show, and accommodation didn't quite work out for everyone.

“We wound up sleeping there for the week we were here,” says Keenan, who shared the U-Haul with another bandmate. “When we closed the door, we had glow sticks we would crack open. And everybody lent us blankets. We had hundreds and hundreds of blankets, but we were like, “This is doing nothing!”

Bumps like that come expected to the band, which is on the road most days out of the year. Without apartments keeping them stationary, the new wave indie rock band from Atlanta calls the road their home, doing hundreds of shows a year, and just barely getting from one city to the next.

When The Winter Sounds return to Brooklyn for their August 27 show at The Charleston in Williamsburg, they made sure to have their housing plans set with their friends. After being holed up in a studio in Austin for the past couple of months, the five-piece hit the road earlier this month, making their way across the country and testing out their latest material.

The follow-up to 2007's “Porcelain Empire,” “Church of the Haunted South” finds the band, currently comprised of Keenan, Clayton Taylor on guitar and vocals, Gina Asalon on keyboards, Mario Santana on guitar, and Ryan Durdin on drums, working with Danny Reisch of the Lemurs, which they toured with last year. The process has been like music boot camp for the musicians.

“[Reich] just grilled us,” says Keenan. “This is what probably what goes into making a good album – we all had expectations, but we all evolved and changed.”

Coming off the first album's 80's-esque, polished groove that drew comparisons to The Killers (see its most popular track “Windy City Nights”), the band finds their sound more varied on “Church of the Haunted South,” helped out in part by the fact that Keenan and Asalon, the only consistent members since the last album, are joined by three new friends.

“It's more song-centered as opposed to a style. It's more symbolic,” says Keenan. “We were going for like the antebellum South, Gone With the Wind era of Southern romance. Out of that sprung the lyrics.”

Those looking to hear the new inspiration can't go to MySpace just yet (save for demo “Trophy Wife”); the group is just out of the recording process, and is still deciding if they want to release it independently or go with a label (their debut came out on Livewire Recordings). So their appearance at the Charleston is one great way to hear the band's perfected sound, as they plan on pulling from their new material, as well as a couple of tunes off of “Porcelain Empire.”

When the band comes to Brooklyn, in addition to playing, they also look forward to enjoying the city.

“The times that we've been able to go through and make it through the cost of the tolls – it’s just a joy,” says Keenan.

If Keenan and the band ever settle from their non-stop touring session, Brooklyn may be Keenan’s ultimate destination.

“I want to move there more than anything, that kind of feeling,” says the musician.

One spot they never miss when in town is Williamsburg's Union Pool, which inexplicably became the band's hangout after tearing it up on stage, and they'll be there this time around, no doubt celebrating the fact that they had enough for gas and tolls and made it to the show.

“Usually, I'm kind of a nervous wreck about the whole process, but we get really lucky. People are really generous,” says Keenan. “It's a really weird thing, it always seems to work out, but just barely.”

The Winter Sounds play The Charleston (174 Bedford Avenue) with Tatters & Rags on August 27 at 8 p.m. For more information, call 718-782-8717. For more on the band, go to or

Updated 3:44 pm, October 19, 2011
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