Since their formation in 1993, The Old 97’s have established themselves as one of the fiercest live acts around while at the same time managing to channel that energy on record.  It should come as no surprise then that many of the tracks for their forthcoming album, “The Grand Theater, Volume One,” were recorded live in the studio. Originally slated to be a double-disc release, the first batch of songs will be released Oct. 12 on New West Records, with “Volume Two” coming our way some time in 2011, according to a press release that the Dallas Observer was so kind to post.

Earlier this year, the band spent a week before going into the studio at the legendary Sons of Hermann Hall in Dallas, the same site of a four night stand at the the end of 2009, to get a feel for which songs they wanted to record.

“The band set up on stage like they normally do during concerts, so it was instantly conducive to whether or not certain new songs would translate well in a live atmosphere. After deciding what new songs made the cut for proper studio recording, the band moved the production to Treefort Studios in Austin, TX,” the release said.

The release described the musical direction of this album as “Garage-Rock-meets-60s-British Invasion without abandoning the classic 97’s sound.” The two new tracks posted on the group’s MySpace fit the description perfectly. Over a simple yet catchy chord progression, “Every Night Is Friday Night (Without You)” is an upbeat rocker that uses the title as a sort of rallying cry, while “A State Of Texas” is a fast paced barn burner akin to something you’d likely here on 1997’s “Too Far To Care.” The band sounds as tight as ever, with Rhett Miller’s lyrics as vivd and down to earth as they’ve always been. In other words, “The Grand Theater, Volume One” is shaping up to be another strong entry in the band’s deep catalog.

Below is the official album art and track listing, also via the band’s MySpace:

The Grand Theater, Volume One:

1. The Grand Theatre
2. Every Night Is Friday Night (Without You)
3. The Magician
4. You Were Born To Be In A Battle
5. The Dance Class
6. Let The Whiskey Take The Reins
7. Champaign, Illinois
8. A State Of Texas
9. You Smoke Too Much
10. Love Is What You Are
11. Please Hold On While The Train Is Moving
12. The Beauty Marks

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