The Polyphonic Spree hasn’t put out a new album of original music in 10 years. That changes on Friday, when the most populated rock band in Dallas—22 musicians, with another 20 backup vocalists sometimes in the studio—releases Salvage Enterprise, an album that took years for to pour out of frontman Tim DeLaughter.
The Dallas indie rock stalwart sat down at the Old Monk this week to talk about the new album and his unique way of bringing it to listeners away from TikTok snippets. The record has been done for two years, but DeLaughter has been trying to figure out how to play it for a “captive audience.”
His plan started last summer with a Sprinter van and rented speakers. He drove to Joshua Tree, California, to a festival with art installations and about 3,000 attendees. He arranged the speakers in a circle and put out blankets and pressed play on the 43-minute album. The next day, he got in his van and drove four hours west to Ojai, California, and did it all over again.
Next year will see the Spree broadcasting the album in planetariums, starting at the University of North Texas in Denton. But the first proper show happens on Wednesday, November 22 at the Granada Theater. (The band’s annual Holiday Extravaganza returns to the Majestic Theater on December 15 and 16.)
Salvage Enterprise took a lot of time and work—and patience. DeLaughter says he was in a depressive state leading into COVID, and the music just wasn’t coming. “I could not write a song to save my life,” he says. When he makes music, “I dip my toe in it, and it’s either there or it isn’t.”
And then it was. Listen to the full podcast below.