Old 97′s Get Feedback From Frank Black On New Record

Coming off the momentum from its just-wrapped preview tour, the Old 97′s are continuing to build up steam towards the release of its new album, “Fight Songs,” due out on April 27.

According to band guitarist and vocalist Rhett Miller, the new Old 97′s record — which had been originally titled “Imaginary Friends” — finds the group exchanging its alt. country garb for a “slightly more Britpop kind of guitar sound,” a sound featured on the first single, “Murder (Or a Heart Attack) [28.8 RealAudio] .

A departure from the “cow-punk” chops of the band’s critical breakthrough, “Wreck Your Life” as well as its 1997 major-label debut, “Too Far to Care,” Miller admits that the end result of the new album caught him off-guard.

After finishing an early mix of “Fight Songs,” Miller felt a little insecure about whether the record might alienate some fans, and sent off copies of the album to family and friends — including one Frank Black — for
feedback.

“I felt very weird after [the record] was done, because I knew it was not really in the same vein as our other three records,” Miller told MTV News Online. “It’s so far away from the ‘No Depression’ movement that we’d been associated with, so I was a little worried (laughs). So I sent copies of the CD to a few people, one of which was Frank Black.”

“He had approached us at an Old 97′s show a while back,” Miller continued, “and of course we all love him and the Pixies. So, when [Black] called me back and said he really liked ['Fight Songs'], I knew we had passed the bar. Unfortunately, his favorite track, ‘The Villain,’ ended up getting left off the U.S. version of the album, but I think we’re using it as a bonus track on the Japanese import. Sorry about that Frank.”

Even though the new Old 97′s record doesn’t come out until next month, fans can catch a snippet of another track from “Fight Songs,” entitled “19″
[28.8 RealAudio]
, that is being used on promotional spots for the WB drama “Felicity” throughout March.