Last year Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s frontman Richard Edwards was dealing with chronic stomach pain. That fact doesn’t have anything to do with the title of the band’s new album, “Rot Gut, Domestic,” but it did help drive him to finish writing the album in a hurry. Edwards holed up in Pismo Beach, Calif., and wrote the album’s 12 tracks in less than a month.
“I wouldn’t go as far to say making music has any healing properties, but something like that definitely helps your state of mind,” Edwards said during a phone interview. “Most people who write music or books are doing it in some degree as a way of getting through something — of making yourself feel your life has a purpose versus being a painful annoyance. I don’t know if that’s true, but you can fool yourself into getting some work done.”
“Rot Gut, Domestic” is the second album in The Nukes’ “panic pop” trilogy that began with 2010’s “Buzzard.” Both albums represent a departure from the more symphonic sound of the band’s 2008 major label releases “Not Animal” and “Animal!” Those albums took years to get made and the end result was not what Edwards was hoping for. The Nukes split with Epic Records and formed their own label, Mariel Recordings.
With “Buzzard” and “Rot Gut, Domestic,” Edwards was looking for a more raw, scaled back and grimier sound. Edwards was looking to capture the sound of ’90s rock, but through a ’70s rock filter. Gone were cello and horns that had populated the Animal recordings. The band also tried to write and record in a shorter period of time, usually just a few days or weeks.
“With the stuff on ‘Animal,’ some of the songs were written so far apart that there were conflicts between the two batches of songs,” Edwards said. “Condensing things down really makes everything feel like a whole. Everything gets very focused and it doesn’t allow you to fall out of a tree and down some rabbit hole like when you have all the time in the world. Placing limitations challenges you to focus.”
Edwards said he already has the next Nukes album written, but he’s not sure if the album will be a part of the trilogy with “Buzzard” and “Rot Gut, Domestic.” The band won’t get around to recording until later in the year, and by then some of the songs may get dropped or new material might be written to take its place. He said the “panic pop” trilogy isn’t about an overall story, but a sonic connection between the songs. He won’t know if this next album is connected until he starts working with the other members of the band and gets a feel for how it sounds.
“‘Buzzard’ and ‘Rot Gut, Domestic’ are about very dark, wild, grimy pop music,” Edwards said. “Part of me thinks this next record will have more of a clean sound. I’m interested in making a California record, capturing the feel when the sun goes down and you’re driving or riding a bike and just seeing the lights on the hills.
“I’m not sure how that would fit in. Once I’m in the recording process, I’ll have an idea.”
Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s
When: 9 p.m. Saturday
Where: Wooly’s, 504 E. Locust St.