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Shmat's Reviews
For more reviews, please visit Palebear which is where all future Shmat reviews will appear (as of March 2006).

Dusty Rhodes and the River Band
Untitled (CD-R Demo)

Wasn't Dusty Rhodes like some fat plat blonde heavyweight wrestler in the 80s? I think I remember he referred to himself as "The American Dream". Don't ask why I remember this stuff. Well, let me hopefully assure you all that there is exactly less than zilch in common between Dusty Rhodes the Wrestler and Dusty Rhodes and the River Band. Then again, I haven't seen Kyle and the guys try suflexing their guitar cases so maybe I shouldn't speak for them.

In any case, DRRB are to me a sort of punked up country-folk band, hailing originally from the Kansas area or thereabouts, I believe but now transplanted to Fullerton. They blend the drunkout porch bleatings of crusty Will Oldham with the carnival showmanship of Tullycraft and Sissybar. The songs on this 5 track CD-R demo, though sometimes muddled to the point of distraction by the orchestra-in-a-box approach, present a good mixture of essential down-home southern instruments like accordion, banjos, mandolin, tambourine, and...TUBA?! Well, that sure sounded like tuba on "The Highest Mountain", sandwiched between an accordian and a scratch-ass washboard. Someone's also been apprently passing around the jug o' noble helium gas for certain vocals on this one. On "Put Your Boots On" the guys show off their yodeling skills amidst a backdrop of plunking banjos and double time bass and snare. You know the "Country Bears" showcase they used to have at Disneyland, CA (I haven't been back to the park in awhile so maybe it's still there)? This reminds me of that, except the animatronic bears get drunk halfway through the show and start breaking their tripwires to get at the audio tape controls and then proceed to set the tape servo mechanism to double haywire speed. Oh, and they bust out real instruments and start playing real songs. I get that same pleasant, rollicking out of control feel from the tracks on this CD.

For the old bar room brawl comparison that I always make, let's try: Guided By Voices footsy-ing it up with the Palace Brothers at your local tavern. You may not agree with the overall musical aesthetic put forth by Dusty Rhodes and the River Band but damned if they aren't enjoying themselves when they make their pseudo rock-a-hillbilly noise.

- review by BY (8.8.03)        

Kyle Divine

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