Yep Roc RecordsIt’s no surprise that Melissa Swingle, guitarist for North Carolina-based duo The Moaners, cut her teeth on the breezy, matter-of-fact style of the Breeders. Listening to The Moaners’ newest album you can hear an echo of “Cannonball” in “When We’re Dead and Gone,” but this is a darker country version of that cool 1990s-style rock ’n’ roll.
At their core, The Moaners are garage rockers, but Swingle’s slippery slide guitar wraps itself like a snake around Laura King’s lumbering drumming and turns it swampy. Blackwing Yalobusha’s cohesion comes from this southern gothic backdrop, yet the duo drifts into diverse textures, keeping the record from bogging down in complete seriousness. “Foxy Brown,” for instance, incorporates funk, while the guitar riffs in “French Song” playfully wind and unwind between seductive French phrases and English explanations.
Mostly, the album inhabits lonely wilderness. Think Cormac McCarthy’s The Road: barren, fire-laden and always in a state of sunset. The final instrumental, “Blackwing,” is wonderfully nuanced—the bowed bass hums and rumbles, with an occasional squeak from an off-kilter string. Like the rest of the album it’s both fierce and gossamer.
The Moaners play Friday, July 20, at the Badlander at 9 PM. Victory Smokes and International Playboys also play. Cover TBA.