North Carolina might not be the first place you think of for alternative rock, but it’s been a hub for decades from Superchunk to Archers of Loaf to Sylvan Esso. Adding to that list is Charlotte, NC-based act Expert Frowner who reveals its debut single, “Rookie Of The Year” today. The hook-laden track exemplifies Expert Frowner aka Patrick Haynes knack for writing guitar-driven material, jumping from more jangly moments to electrified solos. The lyrics take a tongue-in-cheek approach to coming into your own as a songwriter and musician at a later stage in life.
As Haynes puts it:
“‘Rookie of the Year’ is a self-deprecating jab about coming to releasing my own music, as opposed to playing on stuff for friends, later in life than most and feeling like you’re already washed up as you’re just getting started. The idea of assigning awards usually reserved for sports and more competitive things seemed like a funny concept for music, and the hook was pretty immediate.”
The track is the first song off Expert Frowner’s upcoming EP, No Smiles, set for release on October 7th. Calling to mind everything from Oasis and Joy Division to more recent acts like Cloud Nothings, the record is an exploration of rock music fused together into a punk-power-pop sound. It’s an EP born of the extra time at home caused by the pandemic. Haynes recorded all the vocals, guitars and bass on the EP in Charlotte, with Miguel Vasquez (Echo Base) adding drums from Philadelphia. It was mixed by Steve Kelly (Sinking Ships Records) and mastered by Jon Markson (Drug Church, Soul Blind). The self-release of No Smiles is intended to serve as a calling card to be followed by a full-length Expert Frowner LP in 2023. You can stream “Rookie Of The Year” here now and the EP is available for pre-order on Bandcamp.