First, the young upstarts known as Banditos lit up the club with raw, bluesy, punkified, tambourine-shaking, banjo-laced rock. Then the Old 97’s — venerated statesmen of the Republic of Alt-Country Meets Punk Rock — took us hip-shaking, innuendo-slinging, windmill-strumming into the wee hours of morning.
Wide-eyed, white lines On down the road I slide God willing and the creek don’t rise Well, I won’t be home tonight …
First, the young upstarts known as Banditos lit up the club with raw, bluesy, tambourine-jangling southern rock. Then Old 97’s — the venerated statesmen of the Republic of Alt-Country Meets Punk — took us hip-shaking, innuendo-slinging, and windmill-strumming into the wee hours. It was one of those nights when you wanna say, “oh, to hell with it,” pack a bag, and follow the bands on down the road.
The six-member Banditos hail from Birmingham and operate out of Nashville. If you’re looking for new songs to play between cuts of Alabama Shakes and Drive-By Truckers, look no further — all that well-muscled, gritty, soulful goodness is right here.
You could call his music punk or call it country, but you’d be better off forgetting the categories and just giving Cory Branan a listen.
My first encounter with Cory Branan‘s music was through browsing the Bloodshot Records catalog — the label that signed the Old 97s and Neko Case can do no wrong. Branan had just released his third album, Mutt, and I wound up listening to “Survivor Blues” on heavy, heavy rotation. The song is a combo punch to the heart and gut. It encapsulates Branan’s potent cocktail of fierceness and finesse — a touch of grit in his voice, rawness and urgency in delivery, and vulnerability beneath.
Early on in his set, Hamilton Leithauser flashed that signature smirk: “My kid’s here tonight, so I have to spell out the title of this next one: ‘Dad is D-R-U-N-K.'”
I had been introduced to the little gal earlier that evening. She now sat beside her grandparents, clapping excitedly for her dad.
Said dad is the former frontman of The Walkmen. The indie rock band announced an indefinite hiatus in 2013 and its members ventured forth with solo efforts — Leithauser’s Black Hours (produced by Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij), Walter Martin’s collection of children’s songs We’re All Young Together, and Peter Matthew Bauer’s Liberation! And last month, Leithauser and Walkmen guitarist Paul Maroon released Dear God, a set of nine original songs plus covers of Tom Paxton, Will Oldham, the Everly Brothers, and V.F. Stewart.
From the opening notes, we are enveloped in sonic folds gauzy and evanescent. Guitars swirl with synths and merge with skittering percussion. Skimming lightly above the surface are the gently sparkling vocals of Kari Jahnsen, aka Farao.
From the opening notes, we are enveloped in sonic folds gauzy and evanescent. Guitars swirl with synths and merge with skittering percussion. Skimming lightly above the surface are the gently sparkling vocals of Kari Jahnsen.
This is Farao. What sets these songs apart from the masses adopting the color-by-number electronica-plus-breathy-vocals approach is Jahnsen’s play with structure — her ability to introduce twists and turns that keep things slightly off kilter.