Introducing: Mud, Blood & Beer

You’d think with a blatant Johnny Cash-referencing name like Mud, Blood & Beer (“kickin’ and a-gouging’ in the mud and the blood and the beer” - “A Boy Named Sue”), not to mention the longhorn skull on the album cover, that this New York band would fall easily into the alt country area of musical definitions (which is basically what I spent 3 years in the late 90’s listening to exclusively). For the most part they do fit that profile - there are plenty of two-steppin’ drum beats, the kind of guitar playing that sounds like it fell off an early Uncle Tupelo record, and even a reference to a “high, lonesome whistle blowin’”. But what makes this self-titled debut stand out are the merging of these obvious cow-punk touchstones with a clear affection for the jangle-pop of R.E.M.’s IRS years and a pretty strong grip on both insurgency and melodicism - something that many like-minded bands don't balance nearly as well. These qualities are on full display on both the hard-driving “I Am Not The Road” or the windswept melodies of “Fields & Factories”, which with Gary Louris and Mark Olson singing would sound at home on The Jayhawks’ classic Hollywood Town Hall. Mud, Blood & Beer is guided by the strong songwriting of Jason Fine and Jess Hoeffner, who boasts he‘s “been thrown out of literally dozens of bands”. With a debut record this promising I see no reason why that should happen again.

MP3 :: I Am Not The Road
MP3 :: Fields & Factories
(from Mud, Blood & Beer. Buy here or here)

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