It comes as little surprise to find that imposing, gutter-sweeping storyteller Daughn Gibson used to work in a porno bookstore. “It was incredible,” he booms down the line from his middle-of-nowhere hometown of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, telling us about lipstick-smeared drag queens and filth-obsessed businessmen regulars. “I think it inspired my whole life – like, pull back the curtain a little bit and see what’s inside. That’s one of the moments where I became fascinated with the underbelly.”
Gibson’s new album, the spectacular ‘Me Moan’, is a genre-pulverising collection of creepy modern murder ballads and damaged, neon-lit Americana. “I gravitate more towards the troubled side of human life,” he explains ahead of its July release. “We run around in a virtual smiley face, but really, beneath it there’s a lot of troubling details,” he adds.
No shit. One particularly sinister song, ‘The Pisgee Nest’ is, Gibson says bluntly, “about a gang-bang in the woods”.
A burly former trucker, Gibson is the first to admit that his music has a fair bit in common with the meth-addled majesty of Breaking Bad, from the ever-present “tension and menace” of his songs through to the sordid take on the current state of the US. In fact, after indulging in marathon viewing sessions of the show, Gibson would go to the Chicago studio where he crafted his second LP feeling like he was writing songs for lead actor Bryan Cranston’s deranged character Walter White.
Yet, despite all the grimness, the follow-up to Gibson’s remarkable 2012 debut ‘All Hell’ – made while he studied for
a history degree – has a wicked way with warped, semi-pop sonics, a danceable doom that owes to an obsession with ‘Tango In The Night’-era Fleetwood Mac. “Sometimes I would just go back to the studio and tweak melodies to make them feel like a Fleetwood Mac vocal melody makes me feel,” he explains.
Gibson will be debuting his all-new backing band this month, bringing an invigorated, louder, “more rocking” live show to London on May 28. “Last year it was just a dude standing in front of his laptop – this year I really just feel like it’s gonna be like Road House,” says Gibson, promising a righteous re-enactment of the cult Patrick Swayze movie’s dive-bar insanity.
NEED TO KNOW
BASED: Carlisle, Pennsylvania
FOR FANS OF: James Blake, Johnny Cash
BUY IT NOW: Debut album ‘All Hell’ is out now. ‘Me Moan’ is released via Sub Pop on July 8
BELIEVE IT OR NOT: The new album came about totally by chance. “It was an accident.
I listen to country music pretty obsessively and started putting things together and I was five songs in by a couple of weeks.”