Durand Jones & the Indications are “stockpiling” material for its sophomore album, according to drummer Aaron Frazer. But that isn't keeping the Indiana soul troupe from putting out new music.
The group has recorded a pair of obscure covers — Penny & the Quarters' 1970 hit “You And Me” and E.J. & the Echoes' “Put A Smile On Your Face” from 1967. A gold-label 45 featuring the two songs (pressed to look like an old Cobra Records disc) was offered as a pre-sale incentive for the new deluxe edition of the group's self-titled debut album and sold at gigs. It's also been re-pressed by Colemine Records and the songs are available for download on all services.
“You And Me”“Put A Smile On Your Face”
“We find inspiration in different places within the soul world and outside of it, too,” Frazer tells Billboard. “To me, these are everything that we love about those obscure soul 45s — humble recordings, but the performances are really sincere and special and captured a moment. We just tried to do that justice.” Guitarist Blake Rhein adds that, “A lot of people who love the songs already who are 45 collectors are like, 'Omigod, I can't believe you did that song!' But there are more people who never heard the songs before, so we get both reactions — people who are excited to hear them redone by new bands and also that feeling of bringing what we feel are amazing songs to a new audience.”
“Put A Smile On Your Face,” in fact, is a song frontman Jones often sang simply for fun. “I like that song a lot,” Jones says “I would be singing that song all the time, whether it was in the shower or warming up my voice or something. It's just a very encouraging song to me, and any time I ever felt down and out I would sing it for some inspiration to keep going. (Rhein) heard me singing it all the time and just said, 'We should record that,' which was fine with me.”
The group members hope the two covers, as well as the bonus material on the debut album's deluxe edition, will tide fans over while the group — currently on tour in Europe — spends much of the summer on the road. “I feel really excited about where we’re at, and I think this tour has been pretty illuminating,” Frazer says. “It's been really encouraging to see the crowd size growing. To see familiar faces and to have those people tell us how much the show has improved from the first time they saw us. They can see us growing as a band. We have a lot of work to do, but we're super happy with how things are going.” And, Frazer adds, the group is looking forward to giving that audience more new music in the not too distant future.
“We're basically at a point where we're sitting down to create a time table, create our schedule and hopefully we'll be heading into the studio for a first pre-production session soon,” he says. “We can't wait to get this next album under way and put more of our own music out there.”