By Mabel Suen
By Cassie Kohler
By Evan C. Jones
By RFT Music
By RFT Music
By Tom Finkel
By Ryan Wasoba
By Roy Kasten
Bad Folk excels at taking an antiquated form (acoustic folk music) and giving it modern relevance. Case in point: For the band's new, vinyl-only EP, singer and banjo player Tim Rakel examines the current political landscape by looking backward. "That Great Atomic Power Scared Charlie Louvin More than God" gives a thumbnail sketch of "the White House war machine" through the lens of the Louvin Brothers and their famous anti-war song "Atomic Power" (which most of us know from Uncle Tupelo's cover). Side two features a stirring cover of "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda," which tells of a soldier's disfiguration at the Battle of Gallipoli in 1915. The song, written by Eric Bogle and made into a standard by the Pogues, is imbued with a palpable sense of dread by the low, tribal drums and the sound of clanging sheet metal. Like "That Great Atomic Power," it's not much of a stretch to take these historical events and see their analogs in current newspaper headlines.
Following the hallowed tradition of the split seven-inch, Bad Folk pairs up with their like-minded (but different-sounding) pals in Rats and People. Bad Folk's "Saw a Circus" begins like a harsh breeze from the lonesome Western plains before Joey Gavin's pedal steel leads the band ramped-up dirge. Rats and People takes a jauntier approach to its twisted folktales, with Brien Seyle's adenoidal vocals being sweetened by the background vocals, glockenspiel flourishes and cornet blasts. Want your CD to be considered for a review in this space? Send music c/o The Riverfront Times, Attn: Homespun, 6358 Delmar Boulevard, Suite 200, St. Louis, MO 63130. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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