Back in 2010, Tyson Vogel, the drummer of San Francisco folk-rock duo Two Gallants, released a solo record under the pseudonym Devotionals. Full of acoustic guitar fingerpicking and string flourishes, the self-titled album is largely devoid of vocals. In fact, most songs have no singing whatsoever and those that do are almost whispered.
But in Devotionals’ forthcoming as-yet-unnamed second album, Vogel has switched things up. “Eyes Like a Guillotine,” its lead single, features incredibly raw vocals from Vogel right off the top.
“The first record, I sort of purposely didn’t put any words or vocals on it because it was an exploration in silence,” Vogel says from a park bench in the Lower Haight. “I wanted it to be really pure and open. And with this next record, I’m switching up that idea and putting a lot of sound in it. It’s more aggressive and forthright. There’s a lot more singing.”
Recorded over the past year at his house in Crockett with help from Karl Derfler (who has worked with acts like Tom Waits and Bob Dylan), “Eyes Like a Guillotine” is a classic blues track filled with Judgement Day’s Lewis Patzner’s frenzied cello. The end result is a bruising, beer-drenched ballad that sounds like a more upbeat, string-filled take from side two of Two Gallants’ 2014 record We Are Undone.
For the first time in a year, Vogel, who only played a few shows behind the first Devotionals album in 2009, will take the stage, starting on Friday, Oct. 7 at Swedish American Music Hall. The concert will showcase the upcoming album – which at the moment is without a release date – though some of Devotionals’ older tracks will be mixed in as well.
“We’re all feeling really good to reveal what we’ve been holding back,” Vogel says. “I’m really looking forward to being able to play in that environment. So much of this record has been on my mind for awhile, and there’s some interesting elements that I look forward to being able to explore in a live manner.”
Catch Devotionals at 8:30, Friday, Oct. 7 at Swedish American Music Hall. More info here.