Local Wire

Pierced Arrows @ Yucca Tap Room

What does true belief sound like? Something like Fred Cole's guitar, I reckon, or his busted voice, backed by the thumping bass lines of his wife, Toody. Both in their 60s, they've rumbled along the back roads of punk rock, garage, and country music for nearly 40 years, most notably with their Portland-based power trio Dead Moon and now with Pierced Moons (aided by drummer Kelly Halliburton). Cole kicked off his career in the mid-'60s as "Deep Soul" Cole (backed by an all-black backing band) and hasn't stopped since. His voice isn't pretty — hardly — but he and Toody have managed to build a massive library of tapes, 45s, LPs, and CDs, barely scraping by on casino winnings and meager checks written by skeevy promoters in any number of the world's cities. The Coles are the kind of folks who pack it in the van and never quite unpack it, forever cursed (or blessed) to spend their lives wandering and chasing some sort of rock 'n' roll ghost, straining to catch it with a string of nearly broken guitars and amps following along. What does true belief sound like? It sounds pretty damaged, it sounds pretty damned. It sounds like the Coles. It sounds like Pierced Arrows.

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.