Dirty Impound Questionnaire

The Features

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The Features

The Features

The fourth album from Tennessee’s The Features culminates their evolution into a 21st century answer to The Cars – vibrantly modern rock with old school hooks and a prickly, incisive emotional atmosphere, i.e. just the score for moving in stereo with your best friend’s girlfriend. While predecessors Wilderness (2011) and Some Kind of Salvation (2006) are growers that benefit from time and multiple spins, but The Features (released May 14 on Serpents and Snakes) makes the kind of leap INXS took between The Swing and Listen Like Thieves, where all the tumblers fall into alignment and something powerful, an energy that can’t be manufactured, reaches out from within the music – the sound of a band finding their core identity and sharing it with the world.

The whole album crackles with nervous energy, lead singer-guitarist Matt Pelham using a measured tone that explodes into flamethrower intensity at all the right moments. Song after song sticks, music that makes one want to hotwire a Tesla and tool around visiting old flames and broken friendships as the streetlamps shimmer off the silver hood and the night air grows cool and pleasant. Each constituent part – Pelham’s barbed lyrics, spiky guitar and heavy petting voice, the bubbling, analog friendly keys of Mark Bond, the Chic-esque bass slink of Roger Dabbs, and the secret weapon, pay-no-attention-to-me compact grace of drummer Rollum Haas – blend so well, each distinct and complimentary at the same time. One is reminded of the electrifying early work of Roxy Music and 10cc at times – art rock that actually rocks – and that ain’t nothing but positive. As a mission statement, which eponymous albums tend to be, The Features serves notice that one of the strongest bands of the 2000s is firing on all cylinders and has places to go.

We shot DI’s signature questionnaire to the band and here’s what the drummer had to say.

Name: Rollum Nicholas Haas

Instrument(s) of choice: Drums

Nicknames: Haastility, Haaspitality

1. Great music rarely happens without…
Megalomania
2. The first album I bought was…
DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince’s He’s The DJ, I’m The Rapper
3. The last song or album to really flip my wig was…
Kate Bush’s The Dreaming
4. When I was a kid I wanted to grow up to be…
An astronaut.
5. My favorite sort of gig is…
One where a lot of people pay to get in that puts lots of money in my pocket afterwards.
6. One thing I wish people knew about me is…
How private I am and how comfortable I am with that.
7. I love the sound of…
Breaking glass
[Editor’s Note: Rollum wins the “Cheeky Monkey Award.” DI has been waiting years for someone to make this reference. Surely the Jesus of Cool approves.]
8. One day I hope to make an album as fantastic as…
The first Roxy Music album.
9. The best meal I ever had on tour was at…
Someplace in Virginia that only served pot-stickers and hot buns. It was cheap and delicious and I was hungry and angry.
10. I always find the coolest audiences in…
Cities where people aren’t concerned with how cool they are.
11. The worst habit I’ve picked up being on the road all the time is…
Eating like a horrible fat pig and not sleeping enough.
12. Led Zeppelin or Radiohead, which flips your switch the most and why?
I like both but I’m not a super fan of either and have to be in the mood for them. If they were to get in a fist fight (both bands in their prime) Zeppelin would win despite Radiohead’s higher numbers. It would be like four Vikings fighting five effete librarians.
13. The craziest thing I ever saw was…
A male cat have sex with a male dog. They took turns too.

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