VOLK – Old Palestine (TX)
Old rockstars may be decrying the absence of true rebels and loaning out their vans to live groups slaloming across the country in a pandemic, but where have the fresh-faced saviors of rock n roll gone? After all, Rolling Stone mag assured us that the class 2000s garage revival, electro-indie of the 2010s, and trap-metal were all ready to provide us with music every bit as important as the classic canon of rock music.
Hundreds of pairs of designer jeans later, we are left at a similar crossroads. It’s not just that guitars are absent from the charts. The rock attitude is absent. Most importantly, few seem possessed by the rights spirit of rock or have acquired the skills needed to resemble true saviors.
Nashville duo VOLK, a band we’ve had the pleasure to interview on Alt77, is one of the rare exceptions. True blue rockers honoring traditional yet avoiding parody, you can find them either playing up a storm or digging deep through blood-filled arteries. Old Palestine (TX) is a protest song and a subtle one at that. There’s virtue signaling here, just the vow to do their rock and blues predecessors proud.
Eye Tiger – Bird’s Nest Fern
I once followed a football team (soccer to our American audience) where its star player used to drink, spend nights out on the town, and get into all sorts of trouble. Strangely enough, it hardly influenced his performances but did help him acquire the ire of his teammates.
One of these, another of the team’s top players, complained to the manager. The man in charge replied that he too was able to replicate the behavior of his misfit colleague, provided his performances did not drop. The unhappy player spent one night out on the town, came in to practice the next morning, and could not run a hundred meters before succumbing to exhaustion.
Bands like Eye Tiger, the project of Even Ennis, resemble the charming, bohemian attitude of the star player. Bird’s Nest Fern, a song that parallels Kurt Vile’s early records, features a vocal melody so detached, comfortable and worn-out, that it’s difficult not to imagine others looking to replicate it in a bid to acquire the same damaged level of cool. You might, at best, fall asleep trying to live up to it. Best sit back and enjoy this indie-folk gem.