Middle Brother, ‘Middle Brother’ (Partisan)
Drenched in longing and verging on self-pity, Middle Brother unites singers John McCauley (Deer Tick), Matthew Vasquez (Delta Spirit), and Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes) for an entertaining country-rock summit that evokes touchstones from Kris Kristofferson to the Replacements, whose Don’t Tell a Soul outtake “Portland” is rousingly covered here. McCauley’s boozy “Daydreaming” and Vasquez’s charming ’60s pop homage “Someday” vividly evoke desperate men disappointed by life. But Goldsmith makes the strongest (albeit negative) impression. His love laments hint at a nasty streak that erupts on “Blood and Guts” when he howls, “I just wanna get your arm in a cast.” Ladies, consider yourselves warned.