Monday, April 19, 2010

The Weekly List: Reasons the Blog Has Been Neglected

Look, we're sorry. We know we haven't been posting as much as we should. Now, we're not gonna sit here and make excuses. But you, our loyal and faithful reader, do deserve to know why we've been slacking.

T.D. and C.R. went to Austin for South by Southwest.

And T.D. wrote it about it here.

Blaine is a superhero, he has a busy schedule.

By day, he educates the youth of Alabama. By night, he's one of Tuscaloosa's finest rock & roll singers.

Whiskey.

No explanation needed.

We're busy practicing to become pro 'rasslers.

Fear The Syndicate.


Government conspiracy.

When in doubt, blame The Man.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Play Them Songs: Drive-By Truckers -- The Big To-Do

Whenever you listen to a Drive-By Truckers record, there comes a point in the album when you can't help but reach over and crank the son of a bitch up. The boys (and girl) just can't help but unleash their inner-Skynyrd and play loud, rowdy Southern Rock (fitting, because in every album's liner notes Patterson Hood reminds listeners to "turn it up loud").

On their new album, The Big To-Do, they waste no time getting to that moment, cranking it up from the very beginning. And for the first four tracks, DBT doesn't let off the gas pedal. Patterson Hood delivers his steady, workmanlike tales of small-town, down-trodden life in songs like "The Fourth Night of My Drinking" and "Drag the Lake Charlie" -- the latter being a particularly hard rocker, and arguably the high point of the album.

Mike Cooley unfortunately only delivers three songs on this album, but what he lacks in quantity he damn sure makes up in quality, both as a songwriter and as a guitarist. "Birthday Boy" is vintage Cooley: straightforward rock & roll with incredible lyrics. "Get Downtown" is a swinging, up-tempo number that fits right along with Hood's "This Fucking Job" as DBT's take on the current economy.

The biggest disappointment isn't a weak track, but rather two they decided to include as bonus tracks on other mediums. If you buy your copy from iTunes, you get DBT's awesome cover of KISS's "Strutter." The vinyl version comes with "Girls Who Smoke" -- a song that was instantly my favorite when I heard them play it live.

Through and through, while not their best record, it's a solid effort from DBT. Shonna Tucker adds two decent tracks, and the band itself sounds as tight as they ever have. There may not be a timeless track that becomes your all-time favorite, but the album will get plenty of plays in your stereo (or on your iTunes, iPod, iPad, Zune, or whatever the hell it is you kids listen to your music on these days).