The Strange Boys, 'Live Music' (Rough Trade)

Live Music
Critical Mass
Release Date: October 24, 2011
Label: Rough Trade

by Marc Hogan

These pointedly off-kilter Austin rapscallions have covered "Lay Lady Lay" recently, and while Dylan was always the obvious reference point for Ryan Sambol's bleary bleat, the Nashville Skyline nod feels especially appropriate for his band's third studio album. Live (rhymes with "give") Music cleverly continues the rootsier turn of last year's Be Brave, now emphasizing honky-tonk piano. Recorded half with Spoon's Jim Eno, half with Be Brave producer Mike McHugh, it's all slack -- sometimes to a fault, but mostly not. Moving on from venerable garage-rock label In the Red, the Strange Boys are still scrounging up diamonds in the rough.

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