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Cartel Charts A New Course For Its Music

Of the Oakland Press

Posted: Monday, November 2, 2009

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Georgia rockers Cartel got a lot of attention for recording their sophomore album, 2005’s “Chroma,” amidst the hype of MTV’s “Band in the Bubble” program.

Sales didn’t live up to expectations, and the group parted ways with its record company. But frontman Will Pugh has no regrets about the highprofile stunt — although he does start Cartel’s new album, “Cycles,” with the line “let me re-introduce myself.”

“I think people kind of got the wrong idea with the last record,” explains Pugh, 25. “We were just trying to explore something, develop and grow as a band and try to do it naturally. The whole bubble thing distracted everybody from that. Fair enough.

“When we sat down to write (‘Cycles’), we took a long time. It was more kind of a proving ground. We knew we had to come back with something that was gonna make people pay attention. I feel like we did that.”

During the interim between albums, Pugh also did some outside collaborating with other songwriters, with some of the tunes being submitted to Kelly Clarkson — though none were recorded. Pugh says the experience not only helped him on “Cycles” but also gave him an enhanced perspective on his craft.

“Good songs don’t have to change the world,” he explains. “They can be about simple things, not grand opuses with big messages and everything. A good song is something that makes you feel.

“The majority of the songs on (‘Cycles’) wound up having a little bit of a message, but mostly you can feel the energy in the songs. That definitely came through on tape, that desire to make it feel like a real performance rather than just something that goes along.”

Cartel, This Providence, the Summer Set and The Bigger Lights perform at 6 p.m. Tuesday (Nov. 3) at Saint Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit. Tickets are $16 in advance, $18 day of show with a $44 fourpack. Call (313) 961-6358 or visit www.livenation.com.

Web Site: www.livenation.com

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