Bored and looking for something last-minute to do tonight? I highly suggest you go check out Mark Pickerel (and Two Cow Garage) at Off Broadway. (For reference, Pickerel was the original drummer of the Screaming Trees, was in Truly and also plays in the Tripwires, a power-pop act; he's also drummed with Brandi Carlisle and Neko Case.)
Pickerel, who's touring in support of his latest album Cody's Dream (which is billed to Mark Pickerel and his Praying Hands), came in and recorded an acoustic session for my radio show a few hours ago and pretty much blew me away. Dream is the soul-blues-rock album I wish the Gutter Twins' Saturnalia was: It's haunted by Pickerel's black-velvet baritone and songs about small-town characters, tales embellished by pedal-steel, cello, dusty twang and plenty of rich harmonies.
Here's what Roy Kasten had to say in this week's paper:
If you're the original drummer for the Screaming Trees, you either resign yourself to being the answer to a trivia question, or you do what umpteen ex-punks and alt-rockers have done (ex-Trees vocalist Mark Lanegan included): You get some twang — because alt-country is so (cough) hot right now. That's a cynical and unjust version of what's happened to Mark Pickerel, who's left grunge behind in favor of fractured, Mekonesque agit-Americana that sounds convincing whether he's painting pastoral scenes of copping a feel at a funeral or tracking down outlaws on the lost highway. On his 2008 Bloodshot release, Cody's Dream, the dazzling steel guitar, boozy harmonies and clip-clop rhythms sometimes suggest a creepier Chris Isaak, sometimes hint at a more tuneful Johnny Dowd with dystopian visions fully intact — and, more often than not, smartly focus Pickerel's dark visions.
Show starts at 9 p.m. and is only $10.
-- Annie Zaleski