Black Eyed Snakes

Usually when a thirtysomething Midwestern white guy comes face to face with his midlife crisis, it involves buying a little red Mazda and banging a secretary. That was hardly the path for Alan Sparhawk, a man who spent the better part of the past decade achieving near-icon status fronting the soporific shoe-gazing outfit Low. Sparhawk ditched the indie nocturnes and got raw. He stopped penning songs such as "Like a Forest" and started jamming one-chord blues licks and howling tunes like "8-Inch Knife." He even changed his stage name from mild-mannered Alan Sparhawk to moonshine-swiggin' Chicken Bone George. Sure, it might seem a little heavy-handed and bandwagonesque, given the massive success of garage-blues appropriators such as the White Stripes, but give the Black Eyed Snakes about 10 seconds. If you're not completely captivated (or at least slightly bemused) by Chicken Bone's frothing, demon-possessed take on the back-woods bluesman shtick, you should demand your money back.

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