The Bitter Chills - Highway 21
Mint 400 artist The Bitter Chills pay tribute to a heavily traveled North Jersey road on their new album, Highway 21.
The Jersey band, whose sound mixes rootsy Americana textures and melodic indie pop, recorded this nine-song collection, their third, during an introspective period dominated by the pandemic, says the group’s singer and songwriter Matt Cheplic.
“A few of us live within minutes of Route 21,” Cheplic explains. “It’s this constant, this main artery I’m always traveling. And it’s also a bit dangerous and kind of dingy in several spots. The past few years have involved a lot of staying home, keeping local, and revisiting a handful of the same spots over and over. And images of this local area kept finding their way into these songs.”
In addition to its local flavors, Highway 21 also showcases a more aggressive, driving sound on the single “Piling Groceries”, a love letter to buying your first electric guitar, and on the band’s reinvention of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself,” which debuted on the recent compilation Mint 400 At The Movies II. Along with their traditional Americana epics in the vein of Josh Ritter like “I Hope You’re There (When I Finally Lose My Mind)’, The Bitter Chills delve into folk indie soul on tracks like “Otherwise, She’s Mine,” and wrap up with a minor key ominous version of the Disney classic “It’s A Small World” in a way that would fit into a David Lynch film.
“A bunch of guys from New Jersey, snazzily dressed and singing a ‘Generic Irish Drinking Song,’ is the very definition of fun! – Jim Nelson, KCSN, Los Angeles
“The Bitter Chills bring a lot to the table including well written songs, great musicianship, strong vocals, and lyrics that are intelligent, witty and memorable. These clean-cut lads are real-deal songwriters and musicians in an age where machines often create more music than people do.” – Gene Foley, President of Foley Entertainment and author of Artist Development – A Distinctive Guide To The Music Industry’s Lost Art.
“Songwriting and vocal chops that could make Marshall Crenshaw jealous.” – Glenn Morrow | Bar None Records