Scott Lucas & the Married Men premiered the video for “Cruel Summer” today — the first official day of summer — on The A.V. Club. The clip, which features the band’s heavy, dark take on the Bananarama classic, was directed by Lucas and incorporates performance footage shot by Picture Show Films. The song is the title track to The Cruel Summer EP, out June 25th on The End Records.
“We were gonna go with a pretty straightforward performance clip, but we always seem to do that. So, we threw that right out,” says Lucas. “Bunuel, Kenneth Anger, and David Lynch are the obvious influences here, but there’s some ‘Risky Business’ and Elvis Costello album covers in there, too. Someone called it ‘Tree Of Life’ with meat. And, though I think that’s an insult to Terrence Malick, I suppose it’s fair. This video is just what summer is to me, I guess: burning flesh and vaguely Satanic rituals.”
Scott Lucas & the Married Men play a hometown, record release show at the Hideout in Chicago on June 27th, with Bruce Lamont (Yakuza) opening. Next month, the Married Men hit the road with Mississippi Y’allternative/Sludge Pop band The Weeks. Dates together begin on July 24th in Louisville, KY at Zanzabar. They play Santos Party House in New York on August 7th. Full itinerary below.
Lucas has toured with The Weeks before — they opened for Local H (Lucas’ other band) two years ago. “Sometimes you tour with a band and you stay in touch,” Lucas explains. “Sometimes you don’t. The Weeks guys have always been super cool – and they always come out when I’m in Nashville. I’m psyched to be going back out with them.”
The Cruel Summer EP was inspired by the Married Men’s experience playing the title track as part of The A.V. Club‘s Undercover Summer Break series last summer. The band was asked to choose a classic summer song to cover and decided to reinterpret the sweet pop of Bananarama’s “Cruel Summer” as melancholy metal. They played it live at Novelty Golf on Chicago’s northwest side. The track was re-recorded this past winter at Million Yen Studios with producer Andy Gerber for the EP.
“When they asked us to choose a summer song – I was like, Bananarama. Absolutely. No question,” Lucas recounts. “Maybe it’s because I love Elisabeth Shue. I don’t know.”
“Cruel Summer” is on side A of the 7″ record. The new song “Never Better,” a master class in dynamics that sees Lucas wearing his heart on his sleeve again, is the B-side. A cover of the story song “Coward of the County” (best known as a Kenny Rogers song) and stripped down, violin and acoustic guitar versions of two Married Men songs from their most recent full-length album, Blood Half Moon, round out the digital version of the EP: “Heavy Lidded (Acoustic) Love” and “There You Are (Again).” The entire five-song EP will be available at all the usual download and streaming sites. Fans who purchase the limited-edition 7″ vinyl record will get a code to download all the songs, too.
“The covers are fun and all – but what we’re really excited about is the new track,” Lucas says. “I wasn’t prepared to like it this much.”
“The format is cool because it can be both an EP AND a seven inch single,” he explains. “So, the EP is like a supplement to Blood Half Moon, but the single can stand on it’s own, apart from the record.”
Lucas is best known as the singer/guitarist for two-man, Chicago rock band Local H. For his solo records, he plays with a collective of musicians — the Married Men — which sometimes numbers as many as seven and includes violin, organ and accordion. Reviewers have compared the band to American Music Club, Wilco, the Waterboys and Nick Cave. Lucas calls the group’s evolving sound “country-ish, alt-rock for people who like metal.” Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune listed Blood Half Moon in the top 10 indie releases of 2012. The band toured with Deer Tick last summer and has played shows with James Iha, Kelly Hogan, Tristen, the Airborne Toxic Event and others in the past year.
Scott Lucas & the Married Men – Summer tour dates
6/27 Chicago The Hideout Inn #
7/24 Louisville, KY Zanzabar *
7/27 Indianapolis, IN Do317 Lounge *
7/28 Toledo, OH Frankie’s Inner City *
7/31 Cleveland, OH Beachland Tavern *
8/2 Pittsburgh, PA The Smiling Moose *
8/3 Philadelphia, PA North Star Bar *
8/4 Lancaster, PA Chameleon Club
8/6 Washington, DC Hill Country Barbecue
8/7 New York, NY Santos Party House *
8/8 Allston, MA Great Scott *
# The Cruel Summer EP release show — Bruce Lamont of Yakuza opening with a solo set
* dates with The Weeks
The Cruel Summer EP track listing:
A. “Cruel Summer”
B. “Never Better”
“Heavy Lidded (Acoustic) Love”**
“Coward of the County”**
“There You Are (Again)”**
George Lassos the Moon (G&P) – February 2010
The Absolute Beginners EP (G&P) – October 2010
Who Listens to Radio Anymore?: Live Sessions (G&P) – October 2010
Blood Half Moon (The End Records) – June 2012
The Cruel Summer EP (The End Records) – June 2013