The Waco Brothers

His full-time band the Mekons haven't made a decent album in damn near a decade, but Jon Langford's punked-out country group the Waco Brothers have been on a hellacious hot streak since their 1995 debut. Inevitably tagged in the rock press as a honky-tonk Clash, the Wacos actually are a whole lot more, with music soaked in the suds of barroom melancholy and rooted in the big, booming rock and roll of the Who. (It's no accident that they turned in an ace cover of Pete Townshend's “Baba O'Reily” on the Bloodshot Records anniversary comp from a few months back.) Electric Waco Chair, the band's fourth album, is a typically brilliant collection of loser rally-cries and drunken laments, with covocalists Langford and Dean Schlabowske essaying on everything from hope turning sour to love growing cold. Guitars ring out all over, the rhythms banged out with garage-rock glee, and fiddles, mandolins, and pedal steel find their place amid the clatter-and-clang of what is quickly becoming the greatest rock and roll band in America.
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John Floyd