'Side Street Shakedown', the new song from The Wild Feathers, originated from a particularly harried moment on the road. The Nashville-based country-rock band had just opened for Bob Dylan when the family of a disgruntled former musician who used to play with them turned up.
"Their redneck relatives came out to the show and started a big incident at merch and got kicked out", bassist and songwriter Joel King told Holler. But the problem didn't stop there.
"After the show, this dude jumped out of a dumpster and was going to kick my ass", King shared. Security eventually escorted the man off the premises, but the experience lingered for King and he began developing a song around it. "I carried around ['Side Street Shakedown'] for a long time, and then once I had the riff and everything, I took it to the guys and they helped button it up".
'Side Street Shakedown' is premiering exclusively with Holler. Listen below. The song appears on The Wild Feathers' forthcoming album Alvarado, out October 8 via New West Records.
The cinematic track feels like an uptempo fight sequence. It begins with a dynamic guitar riff that builds into a pure rock explosion, coursing with energy and uncertainty. Although the song revolves around a run-in, the lyrics keep the details shrouded: "Running through the lights / City streets at night with you / Everybody’s strange / Lightning in my veins so blue".
King said, "I wanted to keep it mysterious".
'Side Street Shakedown' is the latest release from Alvarado, which the band produced themselves. Previously, they'd capture a song on a voice memo app, retreating to a cabin to figure out the arrangement before taking those demos to the studio to flesh out with producer Jay Joyce.
In that process, something kept getting lost. "It went through the ringer every time", King said. "We’d go back and listen to the demos, and think ‘Man, that attitude is so badass'". The Wild Feathers wanted to get to the core of their music, so as King says, "We got some equipment and did it ourselves".
Being in the studio together shifted things. "Usually you have to get somebody in there to bring out a great performance," King says, "but we felt watered down a lot, so we wanted to try and capture a moment".
King knows they couldn't have reached this point without Joyce, who worked on The Wild Feathers' previous albums. It's thanks to him that King learnt what he did in the studio and was able to engineer and co-produce Alvarado. As a result, he feels a particular affinity for the album. "I feel like I’m more attached to the record than anything else we’ve done because we're 100% right here, from the ground up".