Monday, November 04, 2013

Sheet metal shank: Dirtfoot's hard new album, "Coming Up for Air,"might twerk the old turntable

Dirtfoot / Jamie Seed by trudeau
Dirtfoot / Jamie Seed, a photo by trudeau on Flickr.

"We. We run this town. Let's turn this motherf*cker upside down." Whether Dirtfoot's energy was planing off as the group enters its eighth year is answered by the album "Coming Up for Air." It snorts and rocks the trough like the guys have been delivered again.

The above opening line, from their original "I am a man," sets the tone for an album that juggles steel cojones. By the second number, "Hypocrisy," I realized ("Rats are in the cellar. Rats are filled with cheese.") that the drumming (Derek Russell, Daniel Breithaupt) is more muscular than ever.

"Sweet love" begins with tight rockabilly energy and then throws out devastating horn lines to punctuate the anger ("I'd like to go back in time and kick some ass.") Seems it was a good idea to bring ReBirth Brass Band up from New Orleans for the sessions. Cut after cut the ReBirth fits Dirtfoot like a sheet metal shank.

Maniacal saxman Scott Gerardy plays like a tripping lead guitarist. Tune after tune he pushes the arrangements over the top.

The connections between the voices of Jim Morrison and Matt Hazelton are more apparent to me than ever. J Bratlie's voice soars in counterpoint. The melodies seem defiant.

I'm not sure if Dirtfoot likes to be called a Klezmer band from a Goy town, but they are. "Break my bones" is a jigging Levantine romp.

"The night John Zooke died" features the siliconic slide of former Shreveporter Papa Mali. It's the voodoo side of Dirtfoot. One of the pleasures of this band is that the clarity of the vocals reveals a sure sense of storytelling, if for the sake of stories noir. They tell tales about love burned out in "Heroin" and of a tequila woman in "Amelia Earhart."

After over an hour of music the sextet barks out the demonic, pounding "Underwater Turtle." This nihilist screed (did bassist Nathan Woods help write this one?) sounds something like George Clinton meets the Clash. "Turtle" could become the sig tune for the band in this era.

Highly recommended.

Coming Up for Air Cd Release Party - El Dorado Casino, Thurs, Nov 14 at 9 pm,
Celebrity Lounge in Shreveport.
Photo Jamie Seed.

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