Friday, February 27, 2015 9:00 PM PST
Sunset Tavern, Seattle, WA
21 years and over
GravelRoad is a Seattle band that seamlessly blends the trance of North Mississippi Hill Country Blues with the fuzz and power of heavy rock and roll. The band is hot off recent releases for local upstart label Knick Knack Records. 2012 saw the band release the widely acclaimed full length Psychedelta (one of Classic Rock Magazine’s Albums of the Year). 2013’s single Pedernales (recorded at Willie Nelson’s studio of the same name) was quickly followed by the full length album, The Bloody Scalp of Burt Merlin (“GravelRoad’s “The Bloody Scalp of Burt Merlin” is one of those rare albums from whose wholly exceptional songs it proves more than a little difficult to choose favorites.” – James Carlson, No Depression
The new album, El Scuerpo, was released once again on Knick Knack Records in the fall of 2014, and follows in the footsteps of their signature mix of the Hill Country and the Heavy by widening the scope of their sound even further. If Black Sabbath had grown up in Holly Springs, Mississippi, they might sound like where GravelRoad is heading, with their feet firmly grounded and pedals to the floor.
Portland’s Tango Alpha Tango is best experienced amid a crowded room of sweaty guitar junkies. Logically, then, a well-mixed live album is the next greatest thing. Captured last year at local recording space Banana Stand, the performance delivered by the quartet tackles a sprawling beast in 12 songs. From the first bluesy electric-guitar riff in “Kill & Haight” to the gritty energy of “Black Cloud,” the record not only translates frontman Nathan Trueb’s ability to write a good tune and dominate a guitar neck, but also the band’s flawless fusion of blues and rock with funky bass lines and psychedelic keys. Trueb explores his folkier singer-songwriter side on “Desert Snow,” a song composed simply of his scratchy, worn-in voice and supplementary fingerpicking. But with nearly half the songs on the set list running eight minutes or longer, many of the album’s gems surface when Trueb cracks them open with his guitar. In lengthy tracks like the trippy “In My Time of Dying” and the driving rock jam “Mona Lisa’s Death,” the frontman disassembles ideas, draws out phrases and slowly builds them up again. Although the album doesn’t quite hit with the impact of experiencing the band in the flesh, it comes pretty damn close. -Emily Booher, Willamette Week
The Pro & The Con:
This Seattle two piece brings pulsating drums and electrified acoustic surrounding some low down vocals. It's grit and grime to go with your bourbon.