Altamesa Gets Dark in Video for New Single “Interstate”

Premiere courts the ghosts that haunt late-night desert highways

Evan Charles and Sean Faires pave highway poetry. Last year’s sophomore breakthrough, Idol Frontier, steered their local Americana noir existentially along the stretches of blacktop cutting the Southwest, composing a modern mythos behind driving guitars.

Before lockdown forced Charles to pull over, he joined the local international collective Project ATX6, got nominated for a Black Fret grant, and prepped for a follow-up to Idol Frontier. First blush of the new songs arrives June 12 with the release of a vinyl single on Mr. Pink Records, “Interstate” b/w “Yellow Sky.”

“It’s just gonna be singles and EPs for the foreseeable future,” concedes Charles. “But even in a span of small releases, we still keep the eventual LP in mind when selecting material. I’m sure we’ll start thinking album when we’re approaching critical mass.”

The strategy suits Altamesa.

The band rolled out Idol Frontier throughout 2018 with a series of six single releases that revealed the expansive narrative chapter by chapter. To launch their next phase, the group offers the video for “Interstate,” premiering here. The clip, shot back in November in Alpine, takes a dark turn for Charles and Faires behind a noir of jealousy, murder, and the ghosts haunting late-night desert highways.

Matt Bizar, co-founder of Luck Productions that hosts the Luck Reunion on Willie Nelson’s ranch, served as director and creative mastermind for the production.

“‘Interstate’ is definitely more of a driving tempo than anything we’ve ever done,” says Charles of the new material. “The first two records definitely hang out in the mid-tempo range, and this thing wants to go. ‘Yellow Sky’ is different because, after cutting the initial vocal take, Sean had the idea of going back in and dropping my voice an octave so you’ve got this kind of Eighties Leonard Cohen growl-speak thing happening. So with these two tracks, it’s like we got to the fork in the road and went both directions at once.”

Charles touts cutting at least eight new demos over the past couple months of quarantine, and hosts a weekly livestream on Altamesa’s social accounts. Check out the debut of the new “Interstate” video.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Altamesa
Altamesa’s New Frontier
Altamesa’s New Frontier
“The New West” christens elaborate single series

Kevin Curtin, Feb. 16, 2018

More by Doug Freeman
Robert Earl Keen Takes a Final <I>ACL</I> Bow
Robert Earl Keen Takes a Final ACL Bow
Texas songwriting staple signs off with seventh taping

April 28, 2022

What We're Listening to Right Now
What We're Listening to Right Now
Sir Woman, whookilledkenny, Buffalo Hunt, Aaron McDonnell, Startographers, and more local sounds

April 29, 2022


Altamesa, Evan Charles, Sean Faires, Idol Frontier, Mr. Pink Records, Matt Bizar, Luck Productions, Willie Nelson, Leonard Cohen

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle