EP: Under The Gun by The Division Men
The Division Men is a husband / wife acoustic duo based in Austin, Texas. They’re out with a 9-track EP named Under The Gun.
J. Spencer Portillo (vocals / acoustic guitar) was born in Los Angeles, California but was raised in El Paso, Texas. His El Paso roots offer a huge influence on the lyrics which frequently present atmospheric portraits of love, life in a border town and death.
Caroline Rippy Portillo (vocals / bass guitar) was born in San Antonio, Texas. She spent her childhood surrounded by music. Caroline is the granddaughter to the master craftsman, Don Martin Macias, known for his handcrafted bajo sextos.
The Division Men’s named was derived from the idea of artists collaborating from all over the world despite the their locations. J. Portillo spent countless days and nights writing in his apartment in Berlin, Germany. He worked, recorded and performed with artists such as Mitch Hertz, Steven Medina Hufsteter and Fredo Ortiz. Although the collaborations dwindled, J. Spencer and his then girlfriend Caroline continued to actively write and perform together under the already established name “The Division Men”.
This portrait of their origin is essential to understand their lyrics and sound, definitely imbued with a strange, dark romantic and ethereal flavor that reminds a lot the merger of Tom Waits‘ vocals with dustings of Johnny Cash‘ lyrics and The Civil Wars‘ acoustic style. If many are the influences and the similarities, so many are the uniquenesses like the ethereal Caroline’s voice that seems to come from the shadow, or the intensity of J. Spencer’ lyrics which depict dusty western atmosphere, perfect as an OST of a spaghetti western movie. I’m pretty sure that Sergio Leone would have chosen a few of Spencer’s hypnotic chord progressions for his movies.
The EP, Under The Gun is like a movie and its OST: a concept album that tells about dark romantic stories of criminals, heart wrenching love stories and fatal endings.
Listen to a couple of highlights below. Full EP here.
From your Undercover Agent