Music » Critics' Picks

The Meat Purveyors with Belle Star

Friday, May 24; Frederick's Music Lounge

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Frederick's Music Lounge is no stranger to hootenannies, but on Friday, the Meat Purveyors promise a hootenanny like no other. On what other night will you hear the songs of Ratt, ABBA and Ralph Stanley performed on the same stage, all in the service of a riotous noise that will get your blood pumping and feet swinging? The Purveyors' new release, All Relationships Are Doomed to Fail, speaks to the lovelorn, the love-smitten and the love-pissed-off. Its opener, "Hey Little Sister," packs a wallop as it bemoans the effects of domestic abuse. Although domestic abuse -- or, more plainly put, wife-beatin' -- isn't so uncommon a theme in country and bluegrass music, lead singer Jo Walston versifies from one sister to another and, in the process, menaces the abuser in a way he won't easily forget. Other highlights include a sweet cover of Nick Lowe's "Without Love" and the Purveyors original "Circus Clown," sung with a such a rending twang that listeners will surely feel compelled to chime in.

The band impressed the hometown crowds at Austin's SXSW, playing to packed rooms of the aforementioned swinging feet. And what's to stand still for? This combo -- part bluegrass, part punk, part B-52's (dig Walston's new beehive) -- uses every tool at its disposal, combining raucous strings, smart and funny lyrics and transcendent two-part female harmonies. In sum, the Meat Purveyors narrow the gap between the spirited, the mean and the joyous.

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