The psychedelic country pioneered by the Byrds and the Grateful Dead has been making a bit of a comeback, thanks to bands such as Phosphorescent, Blitzen Trapper and now Blue Giant. The Portland, Oregon, band, which features members of Viva Voce, Swords and the Decemberists, is named after the most luminous celestial phenomenon. Accordingly, the group's music emanates a cool, steady glow, owing to an obsession with time-warped reverb and refusal to indulge in country rock's lyrical clichés. The members of Blue Giant may cheat, drink and lie, but they don't sing about their sins. Flooded with dreamy pedal steel, thick baritone guitar, rattling piano, overdriven slide, desolate banjo and neatly arranged harmonies, Blue Giant's debut is a great headphone album; the trick will be capturing those textures onstage.
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