Grogan Social Scene is a collective that changes and rotates on any given night, but one thing is constant; founder and bandleader Thomas Grogan. Currently based out of Washington, DC, Grogan is working on his second full length album.
Thomas Grogan lost his career, his girlfriend and his direction in a matter of months. Unsure of what to do next, Grogan hit the road wandering coast-to-coast, chasing jobs and dreams, before finally settling in Washington, DC. Ultimately, Grogan gained hard-won wisdom from his solitary travels, which he then channeled into his long-standing music project, Grogan Social Scene. Haunting, insightful and sometimes humorous, Conceptual Arrangements (2015) will be Grogan Social Scene’s second full-length release of Americana-infused, indie-rock songs.
The album was recorded at Alpine Red studios with Chip Johnson (Pat McGee, Tony Lucca, The Alternate Routes, Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers), the same studio where their previous release, Simple Observations, was recorded. On Conceptual Arrangements, Grogan sings poetic, philosophical musings in a striking baritone reminiscent of David Berman of The Silver Jews, The National’s Matt Berninger, and Bill Callahan. Musically, Grogan Social Scene is evocative of Pavement, Wilco and early Modest Mouse, however, the band achieves its own unique sound with the juxtaposition of elegant violin that weaves its way around Grogan’s powerful voice.
Although Thomas Grogan believes in a true collective spirit, that anyone on any given night is welcome on stage to be part of his “social scene”, the recording features longtime staples of the band’s live performances. Ian Thomas, Erika Seberhagen and Tyler Elliott are former members of DC’s famed, Once Okay Twice. Elliott plays bass while Seberhagen, classically trained, provides the hypnotic violin that swirls around each track. Drummer, Jerry Tolk (One Big Woo), as well as engineer, Chip Johnson, provide the backbone of the rhythm section while Grogan rounds out the percussion. Coinciding with the release, visual artist LA Johnson, has created limited edition poster art inspired by each song on the album.
Grogan Social Scene has received coverage and favorable reviews for their concerts and videos on music journalism sites across the country, including The Deli (San Francisco), CT Indie (Connecticut), Pasta Primavera (Baltimore), An Ocean of Noise, Hometown Sounds, DC Rock Live (Washington, DC), and many more. Although Grogan may not look back favorably at the tough times that inspired the album, he is grateful for the stories and wisdom he acquired during that period. As he sings near the end of the album, “All of the things that I’ve seen, you couldn’t make up if you tried.”