I’ve said it many times, but its worth repeating, the past few years have been a golden age for alt-country. The strains are many — cosmic-tinged psych that dots a few pot leaves on the ol’ nudie suits, indie country that pulls from No Depression template, folk strummers with a touch of twang, wage-puncher rags that take the edge off. The latest LP from Detroit’s Loose Koozies employs most, if not all of these subsets at once, while making the transitions appear seamless. While the can scrape the infinite with the best of ‘em, mostly they’re splitting time between the Jayhawks/Tuepelo template and The Replacements shaggy dog day-job sufferers with a bit more barroom twang on board. The band’s E.M. Allen has got a damn fine Jay Farrar gristle in his windpipe and that might make the comparison lazy if it weren’t so spot-on. Aside from the aesthetic similarities, the band excels at making the ordinary trappings of work, vice, sorrow, and simple pleasures elevate from the benign to divine, like both of their influences before them.
While Detroit might not have the stamp of a country hotbed, it’s certainly got all the right pieces in place. Having grown up in Michigan myself, I know the hold the genre can have on the populace. Seems their prowess proved infections and the band caught the ear of local legend Warren Defever (His Name is Alive), who hopped on board to help guide the grooves that the Koozies lay down. He also found himself studio-side contributing a bit of keys to the record. It’s easy to see what enamored Defever with the band as they’ve captured one of the more raw-nerve version of the new country grit that I’ve heard elsewhere. Many have tried, but few have found the right balance of country-rock chops and sweat-stained honesty that made that ‘90s wave click. Each spin on this record locks it down further as a jukebox staple just waiting for a college town or night-shift bar to embrace it as their own. Don’t let this one slip away.
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