Local Wire

The Knitters

The Knitters -- X members John Doe, Exene Cervenka and D.J. Bonebrake, augmented by then-Blaster Dave Alvin and current Red Devil Johnny Ray Bartel -- recorded Poor Little Critter on the Road in 1985. The album consisted of the country and folk songs that inspired the music of X as well as X tunes dressed down in acoustic arrangements. Modern Sounds reunites all the original members, and is more electric and more alt country (or, more properly, old-time pre-Nashville country) than folk. Alvin's big, fat, twangy guitar sound dominates most of the tracks. You could call the album heavy-metal rockabilly without being too far off the mark. The jarring, mournful harmonies of Doe and Cervenka still cut to the bone, while D.J. Bonebrake's subtle but forceful drumming, mostly brushes on the tom-toms, pushes every song to the desperate edge that X explored so well.
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J. Poet