Celebrating their fourth album and first in six years, Washed Away, LA’s Rooney, now effectively a solo vehicle for frontman Robert Schwartzman, are set to return to Nashville for the first time since 2011, this Sunday, Oct. 23 at 12th & Porter with buzzy up and comers Royal Teeth and Swimming with Bears. Experiencing something of a second wind, this definitely feels like the most exciting time to catch Rooney live in years, and if you want to feel both nostalgia for their early ’00s beginnings while looking towards the band’s future, you can grab a ticket right here. Read on for more about the lineup!
Though their genesis traces all the way back to their 1999 high school band origins, LA rockers Rooney made their broader introduction in the early ’00s, appearing on popular TV show The O.C., touring on Lollapalooza and in support of big names like Weezer and The Strokes, and finding a positive wave of initial buzz thanks to their eponymous debut and singles like “Blueside,” “If It Were up to Me,” and “I’m Shakin.” Discovered after strong early demos and buzzy hometown performances, and promptly scooped up by Geffen, Rooney’s ascent seemed swift in the public eye, and the ensuing years would see lots of prominent film and television placements, and a string of great records, perfecting their nostalgic, catchy blend of ’80s pop, British Invasion, and alt rock influences. Though their lineup shifted here and there, Rooney mostly identified as a proper band for many years, though one led by frontman and principal songwriter Robert Schwartzman (brother of actor and musician Jason Schwartzman). Sometime in six year gap between their last album and this year’s new fourth effort Washed Away, however, Schwartzman opted to pursue Rooney more as a solo project, recruiting a new crop of studio musicians and backing players, to craft what marks the group’s most inspired, retro, and pleasantly poppy batch of songs in years. Back to being an indie affair, Rooney are still going strong for the love of the music, and, more than a decade and a half in, are still a fun, eclectic, and inspiring site to behold.
Channeling an affinity for folk, but unafraid to lay down heavy synth lines and thick indie pop orchestration, Louisiana’s Royal Teeth balance guy-girl vocals, huge hooks, and soaring harmonies effortlessly, crafting a hypnotic sound that holds an immediate familiarity, while retaining a refreshing uniqueness. Formed in 2010, the group quickly attracted a following after their self-released 2011 EP Act Naturally, soon inking a deal with Dangerbird ahead of their 2013 debut album, Glow, all the while performing on American Idol, appearing on Last Call with Carson Daly, and landing spots at SXSW, CMJ, and Bonnaroo, and more, plus tours with Fitz and the Tantrums, The Kooks, Walk the Moon, and American Authors, among other big names. The group are finally gearing up to release a new EP, Amateurs, on Nov. 18, so it’s an especially exciting time to see Royal Teeth in action!
SWIMMING WITH BEARS
Though they cite influences like King of Leon, Band of Horses, and Explosions in the Sky, Texas alt/indie rockers Swimming with Bears, who we hosted at our Acme showcase a few months back, harbor a lot more soul than any of those references, and certainly veer more into that territory than the rest of this bill. Formed in 2011 and initially conceived as a side project, the group recognized their immediate chemistry and recorded a debut EP, eventually turning to Kickstarter to successfully fund a proper followup. After several years of touring and met with positive press, the group are fast building a reputation for their eclectic sound and strong live show, and are more than suited to warm the night up.
Rooney, Royal Teeth, and Swimming with Bears will perform Sunday, Oct. 23 at 12th & Porter. The show is 18+, begins at 9 p.m. (doors at 8 p.m.), and tickets are available to purchase for $15-18.