Photo: Weston Heflin

Today Darrin Bradbury is announcing a new album that explores where art and commerce meet. Titled  Artvertisement, the album will be released on August 20 via ANTI- Records.
Artvertisement tackles the big questions - like why we're here, and how we can live principled lives in a capitalist hellscape - with vulnerability, heart and plenty of pop culture references. "Exile on Myrtle Beach," with its sing-along chorus and live show-ready arrangement, follows the imaginary exploits of some of Bradbury's favorite humorists, like Andy Kaufman and Richard Pryor.
Beginning with his first album in 2016, Bradbury has documented the warts-and-all minutiae of everyday life with sharp wit and a big heart, doing so with a healthy dose of humor and a refreshing lack of self-seriousness. The title Artvertisement was inspired by Bradbury's difficult experiences navigating the polished, often soulless Nashville music industry, where record label executives would laud his songwriting - some going so far as to call him a genius - but ultimately turn him away because his music wasn't commercial.
While Artvertisement was recorded in early March - just after Nashville experienced a devastating tornado and just before COVID-19 lockdowns began - Bradbury's June 2020 diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder and PTSD has reshaped his conception of the album. After receiving his diagnosis from Vanderbilt, Bradbury spent two months in residential treatment in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, where he underwent rigorous, often emotionally painful therapy to, as he puts it, "work to become a functioning human."
"The thing that a lot of people don't understand is that there is a complete misrepresentation of OCD," he says. "The suicide rate of people with severe OCD is twice the national average, because you just live with it. It never goes away."
Sonically, Artvertisement draws more heavily from Bradbury's earliest influences - notably, early 2000s Saddle Creek artists, DIY punk and the Hold Steady's Craig Finn - than did his earlier work. You can hear those influences all over the album, like on the power-pop ode to Bradbury's sister, "Deanna, Deanna," and the gritty folk of "XXYTOPLEFT," which found lyrical inspiration in Alabama artist Rayvon Pettis.
To bring those sounds to life, Bradbury tapped close friends and band mates Chase Ballenger, Preston Cochran, Ryan Sobb and Scottie Prudhoe to join him in the studio. Kari Pennise, Irakli Gabriel and Cameron Carrus also contributed to the LP, while Cochran, Prudhoe and Sobb co-produced Artvertisement alongside Bradbury.
"I wanted people that were like, 'Holy shit, I have the chance to play on a record that is going to be out there,' and understand what the weight of that means," Bradbury says. "I love studio musicians, but what interests me is, does someone play with a sense of urgency? And they interested me."
Tracklisting:
1. Field Notes from a College Town
2. Artvertisement
3. XXYTOPLEFT
4. Exile on Myrtle Beach
5. The Wedding Song
6. Deanna, Deanna
7. Shinytown
8. Pizza & Drugs
9. 15 Shovels
10. Those Beautiful Days
11. Busted World
12. Mikey Shoulda Died
Pre-Order ‘Artvertisement’ HERE

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