O'Death, Why Are We Building Such a Big Ship, Al Scorch's Country Soul Ensemble Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Soundboard

When: Wed., Sept. 14, 9:30 p.m. 2011

This Brooklyn quintet has suffered a bit of backlash for being beard-farmer urban hipsters appropriating Appalachian music, but some of the critics fall into the same trap as the boosters. Just using fiddle and banjo and writing murder ballads doesn't make you old-timey or imply that you're trying to pass as mountain men, and O'Death are a rock band first and foremost. If their romanticized Americana can be considered retro- or neo- in any way, it's by analogy to the east-coast/west-coast rock dichotomies of the 60s: O'Death play the twitchy, jagged, Velvet Undergroundy foil to laid-back, Byrds-y bands like Blitzen Trapper. The solid and sinister Outside (Ernest Jenning) is the band's first album in three years, in part because drummer Dave Rogers-Berry was battling cancer, and its rural flourishes serve as the proverbial garden path to lead the listener to the rocking parts—whose speeding-train rhythms are just as much the A train as the coal train. —Monica Kendrick

Price: $10

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