Rhythm & Views

Waco Brothers

Ten years and seven releases into a career as the thinking person's rabblerousers, the Waco Brothers are as caustic and passionate as ever. And why shouldn't they be? For a crew like the Waco Brothers, whose collective experience embraces populism in all its guises--from punk rock activism to the blue collar solidarity of true country music, not the reactionary bath water that passes for commercial country music these days--there's clearly more to be pissed off about now than ever before.

No one blends pointed anthems of rage and disgust with the powers that be, with beer-soaked, good-time country/rock as well as the Waco Brothers. Having three dynamic lead singers--Tracey Dear, Dean Schlabowske and the inimitable Jon Langford of The Mekons--gives the band a triple-barreled threat. Langford has evolved into a key figure in the American music scene, one capable of expressing a whole range of complex localized emotions and issues--not bad for a Brit.

Eerily, the Waco Brothers and Freedom and Weep may be the perfect band and perfect release for the post-Hurricane Katrina world we now live in. With songs overflowing with eloquent and tuneful rage against Team Bush, corporate carpetbaggers and morally corrupt opportunists, it sounds like a prequel to a disaster about to happen. Listen up, people: Resistance is possible, and you can also dance to it. "If you think you're getting screwed, join the club / If you're sick and tired of being used, join the club." Amen.

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