Easy Listening for Jerks Parts 1 and 2
published: 12 /
Six Shooter Records
Volatile but impressive double pack covers EPs from quirky bluegrass punks The Dead South
The Dead South might have existed since 2012, but it took until 2016's video for 'In Hell, I’ll Be in Good Company' for them to synchronised click and stomp their way into my head and they’ve been there ever since. They describe themselves as a brotherhood and with their braces, white shirts and stringed instruments only they might look like hipsters but the spirit of punk is firmly on display.
Their particular brand of whisky (young) grandpas, drum-free styling with 'Deliverance' banjos is hard to shift once you’ve heard it and their videos tend to be equally memorable. 'People Are Strange' from 'Easy Listening for Jerks 'Parts 1 and 2' is a case and point. It is also an excellent example of why their bluegrass take on both the folk songbook classics and what they term as "volatile modern outsider anthems" works. The video is indeed strange and (whisper it) I prefer it to The Doors' original. What can I say, the fingerpicking banjo just adds something. And the aliens. But back up, that’s 'Part 2' and I am getting ahead of myself.
'Part 1' includes a sinister version of 'Keep On The Sunny Side' and takes bluegrass standard 'Matterhorn' and adds their own kind of Country Gentleman take. It forms their origin story and reflects their feelings about returning to life on the road. Oh yes, they are touring and that includes the UK. We will get to that too but first I also have to make sure you give their version of 'You Are My Sunshine' a listen too. It’s a much more gritted teeth and more implied menace than I remember from my primary school days singing it sweetly in the choir. This take is much more grown up and realistic.
As well as the aforementioned Doors' cover, they also take in 'Part 2' on System of a Down's Chop Suey and it remains dark and dangerous. Featuring a band as eclectic as Ween with 'Help Me Scrape the Mucus Off my Brain' is a nice nod to their own kitbag of influences and preferences. "Take Foggy Mountain Boys but make it Beetlejuice" describes the whole shebang quite nicely.
The band are touring extensively in the US and Europe this year including shows in the UK. I am hoping to catch them later in the year. Buy this latest record either way. The songs are familiar enough to be accessible and the new takes are certainly out of this world.
Keep On the Sunny Side
Pallet On the Floor
Will the Circle Be Unbroken
Flint Hill Special
You Are My Sunshine
Yahoos and Triangles (Intro)
People Are Strange
We Used To Vacation
Help Me Scrape The Mucus Off My Brain
96 Quite Bitter Beings
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