Drive-By Truckers, Centro-matic

Last year's The Big To-Do was Drive-By Truckers' most hard-rocking album since 2001's Southern Rock Opera. On it, the Athens, Georgia, group told tales of four-day drinking binges, courtroom miseries and barroom brawls.

The Truckers, who formed way back in 1996, have always been considered by many to be torch-bearers of the alt-country genre, but with The Big To-Do, they surpassed most bands in that watered-down category with memorable stories, characters and songs. But just as quickly as they returned to the bombast of rock, they muffled it again with the release of their current record, Go-Go Boots.

Replacing the shimmer of a ride cymbal with the hush of a shaker, Go-Go Boots pays homage to early soul greats like Eddie Hinton. The new approach introduces a new cast of characters sitting morosely in the same bar they brawled in last night, wondering what the hell happened and, like the band itself, what they will do next.

The Denton-sprung Centro-matic, a fellow band between genres, open.

 
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