'The Heavy' one more in a long list of British bands to take American culture as their own
You might recognize The Heavy by name, but you almost certainly recognize their music. Take their hit song 'How You Like Me Now,' which has been featured in Super Bowl ads, on TV and in Obama campaign appearances. But as all-American as those things are, the band is distinctly British — the latest Brit group to build on American Southern music.
Even if you don’t know the song "How You Like Me Now?" by name, you’ve almost certainly heard it.
The funky, gritty tune has been ubiquitous for a couple of years — in a Super Bowl car ad, in TV shows like Entourage and Community, and lately as part of the official Obama re-election campaign playlist.
The band behind the song is four British guys from the small city of Bath who call themselves The Heavy.
The Heavy’s new album is called The Glorious Dead, and they’re touring North America now. The band is just the latest Brit outfit — from the Rolling Stones to Amy Winehouse — to claim American soul and blues music as their own.
“I remember being very young and thinking I was American because of American television,” said guitarist and co-founder Daniel Taylor. “You’re raised with American culture being part of your culture whether you like it or not ... and I guess we kind of take the elements that we like and work out a way of serving it back.”
Even though the band takes most of its sound from Southern music, they hadn’t actually been to the south until their last tour.
In Columbus, Ga., they recorded a gospel choir for the new album.
“It was hours and hours spent at the front of the bus with our driver,” said singer and co-founder Kelvin Swaby. “He said, ‘You have to come down, you have to come down to Columbus, Georgia — there’s something magical there.’ And he was not wrong.”
Check out these two songs off The Heavy's new album: “What Makes a Good Man?” and “Curse Me Good.”
PRI's Peabody Award-winning "Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen" from WNYC is public radio's smart, surprising guide to what's happening in pop culture and the arts. Each week, Kurt introduces you to the people who are creating and shaping our culture. Let Studio 360 steer you to the must-see movie, the next book for your nightstand, or the song that will get stuck in your ear.<