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Local band Toothsome releases two-song EP

toothsome courtesy of tom sowders.jpg
Image of Toothsome Band. Photo courtesy of Tom Sowders.

A year after releasing their first record, local band Toothsome has released two new songs.

Due to the pandemic, the band released its new music, called “Shark Eggs/Pirouette," in a digital format. 

Toothsome was formed in the summer of 2017 when vocalist/guitarist Tom Sowders, keyboardist Melvyn Brown, guitarist Eric Mann, percussionist Lyle Collins and bassist Rylan Eshelman decided to play at a Raleigh cover band event called The Great Cover Up.  

Although the group is fairly new, its members have known each other for years. In fact, Sowders and Eshelman were in a band together when they were teenagers in Chapel Hill.  

Sowders said being exposed to Chapel Hill and Carrboro’s music scene at a young age played a big part in his growth as a musician.  

“Because Chapel Hill and Carrboro had such vibrant music scenes, I was a child playing in the clubs, opening for national touring acts and just able to participate in a very vibrant culture of mostly older people,” he said. “That just cemented my need to write and perform rock and roll music.”

Since their first performance covering The Cure, Toothsome has worked hard to create their own unique sound using a variety of instruments and tools, which include megaphones, samplers, synths and an otherworldly soundscape of guitar pedals.

“I like to think of it (the sound) as artful post-hardcore,” said Sowders. “It’s kind of an 80s new wave.  You can hear the punk rock coming through, but it’s more complicated.”

In addition to their latest release, Toothsome has another two-song album called “Khaki Slacks/Hardest Laugh,” which they released on vinyl in 2019.  

The group was planning to release “Shark Eggs/Pirouette” in the same way, but the pandemic shifted their plans. 

“It didn’t affect the process of writing and recording, but it did affect how we put it out,” said Sowders. “We’ve tried to air on the side of caution with COVID-19, so that’s why we made the decision to go ahead and put it out digitally.”

While the band has been following COVID-19 guidelines, they are looking forward to eventually playing live again.  

“In Chapel Hill, so far we’ve played the Nightlight and Local 506,” said Sowders. “We really want to play the Cat’s Cradle back room. There’s a surprising number of places to play, and I hope there are still as many places to play when this is over.”

The record label that released Toothsome’s album is called Broken Sounds Records, which is run by Michael Wood. In addition to releasing re-issues of bands from the 80s, 90s and early 2000s, Broken Sounds Records works with smaller local bands such as Toothsome, who Wood said he had a great experience working with.

“I've been a fan for a while but had no idea they had unreleased material, but they emailed me one day and sent me the songs and I said ‘Yes, please!’” Wood said.

The members of Toothsome said they could not be more excited about their new release and hope their listeners are as well. 

“I hope that people will think it’s interesting and unlike anything they’ve heard exactly,” said Sowders. “I really want people to hear my lyrics, and maybe wonder what they mean, and it’s even better if they bring their own meaning to the lyrics.”

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