Local Wire

The Smith Family Band @ Yucca Tap Room

There's a killer song by '80s doom-metalheads Saint Vitus called "Born Too Late," and the song's subject fits Tempe-based roots-rock band The Smith Family Band well. The music of Derek and Ryan Smith doesn't have anything to do with the sludgy guitars and crawling tempos of Saint Vitus, owing its sounds to influences like Van Morrison, The Band, Delaney and Bonnie, and Otis Redding instead, but like Saint Vitus, a metal band on a punk label that played at a time when slow-mo metal was resolutely unfashionable, The Smith Family Band seems like a musical outfit from a bygone time. "La La La," from the Family Band's 2010 debut, For Your Kin, sounds like an outtake from Saint Dominic's Preview, with jazzy bass lines, shuffling drums, and "street choir" horns. The style is completely out of touch with the band's Tempe rock scene contemporaries and sounds all the better for it. If the Smiths make any mistake, it's that the record falls just short of the crackling vinyl warmth of the band's heroes, but live performances prove the band has the chops and groove to sell its retro-roots pop as if it's the next big thing.

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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.