I wouldn't be too surprised to discover a couple of Bottle Rockets' songs on a mix tape made by my younger self, sandwiched between R.E.M. and Tom Petty. "Gravity Fails," especially, feels like a more rockin' version of any song off Automatic for the People. And the the live acoustic version of "Kit Kat Clock" reminds me of my Cat Stevens phase, before bands like The Makers and Poison 13 got a hold on me and turned my hopeful optimism into existential dread. Just kidding. Sort of.
Bottle Rockets rose from the 1990s roots revival. We now have a sea of Americana bands out there and Bottle Rockets manage to stay afloat among the rubble of horribly generic music. Not So Loud features a stripped down sound recorded in a one-room schoolhouse in St. Louis. I like the band's full-on bar rock sound fine, but I've gotta say that this stripped album, complete with anecdotes from frontman Brian Henneman about, for instance, trying to go see Dolly Parton, make it stand out. "Early in the Morning" is my favorite, a tribute to the drunken sailor shanty, but rehashed as a mountain man lament. It's hopeful, but with a stormy undertone.
Bottle Rockets play the Missoula Winery and Event Center Saturday, August 13, at 9 PM with Marshall Crenshaw. $15/$13 advance.