Legendary Shack Shakers are not typical Southern-fried fare, no insipid Nashville Muzak served up safe and soft. Think demented Dixieland instead. Imagine vaudevillians, carnies, punks, and Tom Waits producing whiskey-drizzled psychobilly. Bursting with weird flourishes, they trample and resurrect genres with mad glee. While straightforward songs like "No Such Thing" debunk myths ("A free dollar bill in the street?/A rainbow shining through the storm/There's no such thing") expected from jaded, tattooed greasers, "South Electric Eyes" is a creepy noir soundtrack topped with a loony voice.
On past albums, the Shakers' brand of rootsy, weird-ass America nostalgia reimagined a trailer park, Formica kitchen, and pomade past, producing soundscapes littered with neo-polka ("Iron Lung Oompah"), dust-bowl blues ("Bottom Road" and "Something in the Water"), and lonesome Gypsy jamborees ("Jipsy Valentine"). They never let hot tar settle under their restless heels. Their new slab, Swampblood, is soaked in deep-woods folklore (mobs of hillbillies, broken dogs, gap-toothed grannies) and, unlikely as it sounds, hope a new dawn rising, especially now that new guitarist (and former Austinite) Duane Denison (Scratch Acid, Jesus Lizard) has joined this bawdy, surreal tent-revival mashup.
Mon., Oct. 11, 8 p.m., 2010
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