If we all must die, why can't classic rock die, too? It should have long ago, particularly since much of it was dead on arrival (Bad Company, Pink Floyd post-Meddle, Peter Frampton). It lives on because your uncle Scott sings "Feel Like Makin' Love" into a pistol-shaped paint sprayer, high on paint fumes, while coating the interiors of McMansions eggshell white. Yet here we are in 2011 and Bozeman's Abelina Valley has the temerity to identify themselves as "blues rock," which is code for classic rock and probably the least cool thing on the planet, except for Japanese skinheads. So props to AV for doing something that is explicitly un-Pitchfork.
AV is best when they swing and strut, like on the groove-heavy "Dark Gypsy Majik," which kicks off with a bluesy guitar figure made up of hammer-ons and pull-offs bolstered by a couple layers of dirty, harmonizing guitars and a chunk-a-chunk-a rhythm section. The apocryphal acoustic sound of "Annabelle" isn't anything spectaculatory lyrically ("Woman, bring your love to me"), but the spooky slide and plodding percussion is reminiscent of the shipboard sounds made during Eric the Red's sojourns to Greenland. Too bad Abelina Valley can't travel back to 1975 and become golden gods.
Abelina Valley plays the Palace Thu., Nov. 17, at 9 PM with Portland, Ore.'s Hopeless Jack & the Handsome Devil and locals Fiancee. $5.