A Few Random Drunks
World Famous County Wide
If you ask me, there's too many alt-country acts doing the Old 97s thing, and not nearly enough doing the Drive-By Truckers thing. Now, granted, I prefer the former to the latter, but unless you've got Rhett Miller's worn-denim vocals -- and few in the genre do, as Miller's new self-titled record reminded me -- you're better off with a scratchier, sassier approach.
Tempe's A Few Random Drunks get that (sorta) and it's one of the reasons I enjoyed the faster half of their six-song EP, World Famous County Wide, which is full of fun little harmonica solos and loose guitars accompanying Josh Preston's unvarnished vocals.
The first song, "Floundering" is also the best. It's catchy as hell, with a great guitar solo and a foot-tapping beat. The second song which comes in at (gasp) 7:58 isn't as strong, starting out with one of those annoying voice overs every band in Phoenix seems to be overly enamored of before settling in to a a long prog-rock trudge that kills all the momentum "Floundering" had built up. "Zodiac" is better, but still not as fun as that first track.
"Little D" picks the tempo back up, with a nice little bass line, chugging guitar, and lots of soft cymbal. The last song, "Love-Pump Heartache" has a bluesly little opening that makes you wonder why the band doesn't give Cliff C. Hockersmith a slide and more room to work, before bringing back the harmonica which, sadly, comes from a bandmember who's left the group.