Drive-By Truckers / Blitzen Trapper

After essentially putting out an album annually since the late '90s, Southern gothic rockers Drive-By Truckers (pictured) took three years between Go-Go Boots and their new studio effort, English Oceans. In the interim, Matt Patton replaced Shonna Tucker on bass, third guitarist John Neff also left, and, at least on Oceans, Mike Cooley's songs now essentially get equal billing with Patterson Hood's. Both Cooley and Patterson still write about a rogue's gallery of torturously twisted Southern characters struggling with life's pitfalls. Cooley has the more deft psychological touch, writing about "a girl as plain as a primer coat," contributing the album's fiercest rocker (the horn-stoked, Stones-like "Shit Shots Count") and its most lyrical tune, the poignant, honky-tonkish "Natural Light." Blitzen Trapper's eclectic Portlandia Americana has always had a Southern exposure, but its Southern-fried conceits have really floated to the surface on American Goldwing and last fall's VII, the latter also often stirring hip-hop into the brew for cosmic laughs. 18+. (Photo by David McClister)
Thu., March 27, 7 p.m., 2014

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