Sometime in January of 2014 was the first time I set in foot in New Brookland Tavern, and I distinctly remember seeing Keath Mead open for the Whigs with Dear Blanca. His set stuck with me; I admired his sound, and Mead was one of the local artists that caught—and held—my interest in the S.C. scene from then on.
Now, after years of playing local shows, Keath Mead finally finished his debut album “Sunday Dinner,” and its official release is set for February 24 on iTunes, but it’s available to preorder right now. Keath Mead collaborated with one of the biggest names to ever come out of Columbia, Chaz Bundick (Toro y Moi, Les Sins), for the album’s 11 original songs.
Not only is Sunday Dinner the first release on Bundick’s new label, Company Records, but Mead is also the only artist signed to the label other than Les Sins. And, boy, is it one hell of an album.
Sunday Dinner is impressive, especially for a debut. Like a tribute to the ’70s, this album pairs up acoustic melodies and Mead’s gentle voice with summery sounds, to make for an emotional, yet seemingly upbeat album. The songs all fall under the same umbrella theme, but they vary enough so each one doesn’t flow together.
“Grow Up” is arguably the best song on the album — it’s got a laidback, lo-fi sound that makes it an easy listen. Aside from “Grow Up,” “Polite Refusal” is a close second, if not a tie. Starting out with futuristic, home computer sounds, it quickly fades into an emotional ballad that makes it a strong point of Sunday Dinner.
It is clear Bundick had a lot of influence on this album — it was even recorded in his home studio in California. Either Mead’s sound was hauntingly similar to Bundick’s from the beginning, or their talents worked together to make Sunday Dinner like a well-oiled machine. Either way, it sounds great, and to continue their collaboration, Toro y Moi and Mead are hitting the road together this spring, including coming to Music Farm Columbia.
With a remarkable debut album and bookings at SXSW, it looks like Keath Mead is about to blow up. Pretty soon you’ll be reminiscing about that time you saw Mead open at a dive bar like I did, but it doesn’t look like he’ll stay an opener much longer.