Listening to the Can Kickers is like being swung around a dusty dance hall after too many longnecks, dizzy and happy and giddy without a care about tomorrow or the headache that’s sure to follow. There’s no time to think when the band is playing old-time mountain music with the fervor of an Irish punk band; you just go with it.
Mountain Dudes isn’t so much a studio recording as an attempt to bottle a Kickers live show. There is almost no studio production and the band plays loose and free from track to track. Every other song, maybe, you can make out some of Daniel Spurr’s mumbling twang. The harmonies are rough around the edges, but none of that matters. The energy of Dan Thompson’s fiddling and the doubled beats of Doug Schaefer’s percussion (he was actually in a hardcore band, The Afflicted, before going old-time) give the Kickers a rambunctious, rollicking groove that translates just well enough in a recording to make you want to give the live show a whirl.
The Can Kickers are less bluegrass than old, weird Appalachia turned upside down. The Smithsonian’s American Anthology of Folk Music, which contains several early versions of tunes reimagined here, never sounded so modern. (Skylar Browning)
The Can Kickers play Saturday, March 12, 8 p.m., at Area 5.
Twacky Cats EP Comfort Stand
New York electronic musician Dan Deacon is an absurdist composer—which is another way of saying his music is abstruse, fully unpredictable and, best of all, a whole lot of fun. Take his latest compilation, the Twacky Cats EP, as an example. At times the music is slow and seemingly comprehensible—as in the ethereal instrumental track “Coonor Kizer Wearing Bead Jewelry”—and then, all of a sudden it explodes into a kaleidoscope of noise, leaving bits of sound ringing in your ears like the finale of a fireworks show. It’s difficult to tell where the music is going to take you, but that’s the beauty of the absurd. Another standout track is the carnivalesque “Lion with A Sharks Head.” This beast of a song is apparently a crowd favorite, in part for its climactic conclusion with an inflamed Deacon shouting briskly into the mic.
The entire Twacky Cats EP is available as a free download from www.comfortstand.com/catalog/017/index.html. Deacon describes the tracks as “plunderphonic compositions,” and the EP features demo versions of apparently popular live favorites like “Ohio” and “Lion With A Sharks Head.” (Diego Bejarano)
Dan Deacon plays Area 5 during the Missoula Free School’s Ides of March Extravaganza Tuesday, March 15, at 8:30 PM.
Anthems for the Imperfect
There’s a disappointing tendency in Christian rock: All too often the bands seem to be hatched from some secular counterpart, flat-out mimicking the sounds of their mainstream colleagues while adding their own dogmatic lyrics. For Everyday Sunday, a young quintet from Ohio, mainstream comparisons are obvious and fair. Anthems for the Imperfect, the group’s second release, fits comfortably between Blink 182’s punk pop and Bush’s grunge-pop sound.
It may be derivative, but like any good pop effort Anthems for the Imperfect does produce the occasional head-jerking hook. “Gypsy Girl (What Love Is)” is the strongest track and an example of the band’s potential. It offers some melodic power chords and a thoughtful arrangement, then spits out a chorus that sticks in your head like gum on the sole of a Chuck Taylor. The drop-off to equally likeable but more canned efforts like “Comfort Zone” and “Bring It On” puts Everyday Sunday in the precarious position of being more cute than good.
In their press release bio the band is adamant about not boasting when it comes to the new album, which attempts to unite “imperfect” music with a simpatico audience. Fine. In that case Anthems can be considered a qualified success. (Skylar Browning)
Everyday Sunday plays with Ever Stays Red at the South Hills Evangelical Church Community Center Monday, March 14, at 7 p.m. $7. Ever Stays Red
Ever Stays Red
I’ll Tell the World
Wrinkle Free Records
You won’t believe it, but swear to God: It gets tiresome beating up on Christian rock bands. They’re almost always technically accomplished in mimicking the almost always modern rock-ish sounds of the day—good little soldiers that they are—but there’s no getting around the certainty that they’re peddling a lite ’n’ lo substitute for people whose morals (or parents) won’t allow them to partake of the real thing—the aural equivalent of tofurkey.
At least not with Ever Stays Red there’s not.
Yes, “In Your Presence” (“In your presence flowers bloom,” sung über-anthemically) pushes all the rock-ballad buttons. Alternately, it sounds like an awful lot of radio tuneage that’s already being thrown at you from any number of stations that you’re already in the habit of scanning right past—looking, perhaps, for a sort of rock and roll you wouldn’t know they make anymore from the sound of the airwaves: rock not of devotion, but of rebellion. Jesus Christ…Devotion you can get at church.
“I guess you guys weren’t ready for that yet, but your kids are gonna love it,” says a voice at end of an instantly-rendered-pseudo-raucous track 10. Is this addressed to parents vetting the CD for the moral hygiene of their precious offspring? That so does not rock. (Brad Tyer)
Ever Stays Red opens for Everyday Sunday at the South Hills Evangelical Church Community Center Monday, March 14, at 7 p.m. $7.