Southern Culture On The Skids

Southern Culture On The Skids

Southern Culture on the Skids

The Kudzu Ranch

Y’all make fun of Southerners, but that’s where you head for your boisterous moonshine-at-the-drive-in rollin’-in-the-dirt fun after too much cool jazz and over-permed synth boys dry out your rockin’ bone. SCOTS cranks out album number 14 with the same outrageous humor and rockabilly licks you’ve loved since that college dive bar in Chapel Hill. The hits are all there, beginning with “Bone Dry Dirt.” At first, it sounds like a bad farm report, but after your second spin the real story pops up — this singer ain’t getting no poontang and it’s becoming “right” stressful. What’s setting him back? We see soon enough on the next track when singer Marry Huff announces, “It’s the music that makes me.” Her voice sounds a bit like Belinda Carlisle roasting over a swamp smoky bass line, but there’s no question she’s not falling for the first bib overall toting a Miller light. Southerners can be very polite, but very direct.

The sex might be spotty, but life under the Mason Dixon line has its neighborly elements and nothing brings neighbors together like a plastic bottle and gasoline bonfire. “My Neighbor Burns Trash” is why country living is so relaxing — no HOA to prevent you from releasing a little carbon dioxide and polycyclic arimides into the ozone. On “High Life,” Ms. Huff returns with a Jimmy Buffet twang backing her haunting reverb-powered vocals, and “Montague’s Mystery Theme” applies surf guitar and Arthur Lyman rice-on-a-drumhead effects to make a moody yet danceable number with minimal vocals. Heck, there’s something for everyone on the Kudzu Ranch. SCOTS keep chugging out fun danceable music that preserves the joy and relative innocence of the early days of the LA punk scene. These guys would fit right onto a bill with The B-52’s, The Go-Go’s and The Bangles. The great thing is these guys are solidly in business today, touring and making us happy the Union stayed intact.

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