Rough Beast Records
When I was a kid, my grandparents listened to country music (of the Oak Ridge Boys, and Crystal Gale variety). And I hated it. When I was in my late teens, my mom started listening to mainstream pop country ( ya know, Shania Twain- like). And I still hated it. Nowadays it seems that most of my family listens to country music, in one form or another, and though I still don’t get the kind of “let’s go muddin'” brand of crappy pap they lean towards (sorry, fam), I’ve come to understand the roots of country music more so than I ever feared I would. Growing up in the South, I guess it’s in my blood — though buried very deep.
I can understand and appreciate it now, but I still prefer my Country crushed beneath a heavy pile of Rock ‘n’ Roll. That’s why the modern Nashville sound is so inexplicably appealing to me. Bands arising on the outskirts of Country Town USA, steeped in country and blues stomp who have turned the traditional sounds of those hills on its head and steeped it in swampy punk. Ranch Ghost summarizes the sound nicely on their debut album Lookin’ .
They themselves call it “Jangle Cow Punk,” I’ve heard it described as surfy garage rock, and there’s a definite undercurrent of psychedelic in the mix. Whatever you label it as, it’s the kind of music you want to stumble into a pub late at night and hear. Take the song “Bleu,” it’s grimy, but bouncy — It’s a sexified stomp with a thick film of muck on top and it’s as irresistible as a melted cheese sandwich after a night of drinking. “Grow Hair/Grow Teeth” rides high on an instantly memorable bluesy guitar riff. “Turfin” drives out of Tennessee out to the coast, and nails down that surfy side of their style. Closing out the record on a Kinks vibe is “Pale Tale.”
The music scene in Tennessee is mouth watering, with new bands poking their heads out of the crowded pool, high enough to grab the attention of those not in the city limits, on the daily. Ranch Ghost is one more reason to seriously consider moving to Nashville.