Words by Audra Tracy

With the exception of seeing the Screaming Females ‘steal Jack White’s thunder’ at a Dead Weather show last year, supporting acts that we come across are more likely to be endured than adored.

But four scrawny dudes in housedresses thrashing around onstage, playing their tortured little hearts out tends to make an impression. Deer Tick captivated Dr. Dog’s eager New York audience last month, prompting me to check out the Rhode Island quartet’s latest, The Black Dirt Sessions.

Turns out, it’s dark, it’s broody, and it’s pretty badass. If Kurt Cobain and Hank Williams were cellmates, this is the music they would make together. Evident are hints of grunge (‘I Will Not Be Myself’) and outlaw country (‘Piece by Piece and Frame By Frame’), but you’ll mostly get an exercise in empathy, as John McCauley’s stirring words hit you ‘where it hurts the most’.

Deer Tick puts on a hell of a live show, and their off-stage antics are just as entertaining. When the indie elitists from Pitchfork recently gave this record a mediocre rating, the band’s incredibly clever rebuttal was definitely a rock n roll move to be remembered.

Deer Tick
“The Black Dirt Sessions”
Partisan Records
© June 8th, 2010



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