The Bad Signs were born out of a photograph. The brand new Nashville trio features guitarist Nat Rufus, his twin brother, Rob Rufus — author of the best-selling memoir Die Young With Me recently won a 2017 National ALA Award — and frontwoman Samantha Harlow. Previously, the Rufus brothers worked together as the Blacklist Royals, but now they’ve teamed up with Harlow for something a little more left field.
The band consider their work to be a tribute to this long-forgotten, iconic American era — equal parts Americana, film noir and surreal country-stunner ballads. “I got the idea from this old black and white photograph,” Nat said of the group’s inception. “It was from ’67, just two teenagers on a motorcycle, but I wanted to start a band that sounded the way that photo looked, you know? Like vintage rebel youth.”
One quick glance at the “Blue Love” video, which we’re premiering above, reveals that they have more than succeeding in carrying out this vision.
There’s a bluesy, lilting quality to the trio’s music that recalls the hedged in Countrypolitan era of the ’50s and ’60s, but a velvety, gothic undertone is pulsing just below the surface, transforming sweet songs into something more sinister. The video flashes warning of hypnotic frequencies before it begins, and the B-side of their new EP is reportedly back-masked with subliminal satanic messages — and an Elvis Presley cover.
Still, it’s impossible to say the band’s gothic element is something fear-inducing, instead their debut black and white video for the mesmerizing “Blue Love” feels even more intimate and campy due to the thick makeup Harlow is decked out in while she pouts and poses for the camera.
The trio have clearly hit upon something that resonates, as Record Store Day has opted to pick up their debut EP Black Magic Moments as an official release, a rare feat for an emerging band. Check out the full tracklist for that EP below and keep an eye out so you can scoop up a copy this April.
Black Magic Moments tracklist:
1. “Blue Love”
2. “Love Lock”
4. “Nine Lives”
5. “Can’t Help Falling In Love” (RSD exclusive)
Black Magic Moments is out 4/21. Check out their tour dates below:
04/26 — Kansas City, MO @ Prohibition Hall
04/29 — Salt Lake City, UT @ Diabolical Records
05/02 — Portland, OR @ Dante’s Inferno
05/04 — Sacramento, CA @ The Press Club
05/05 — San Fransico, CA @ Hotel Utah
05/07 — Los Angeles, CA @ The Mint
05/09 — Phoenix, AZ @ Yucca Tap Room
05/10 — San Antonio, TX @ The Amp Room
05/11 — Austin, TX @ Hole In The Wall
05/12 –Dallas, TX @ Prophet Bar