During his tenure fronting North Carolina's Archers of Loaf, Eric Bachmann made sure his group never sank too deeply into the guitar-band monotony so many indie acts are all too happy to propagate. By the Archers' last album, 1998's White Trash Heroes, he'd twisted their post-Superchunk blare into dark, noisy avant-rock knots. So despite their potency, it came as something of a disappointment that the first two albums by Bachmann's current band Crooked Fingers suggested he'd be comfortable churning out volume after volume of dank piano-bar rock about drinking too much and generally feeling miserable. Dignity and Shame, the fourth Crooked Fingers album, lifts the doubt: It's a terrific set of texturally adventurous songs about drinking too much and generally feeling miserable that finds the currently Seattle-based Bachmann's wandering spirit renewed. Many of the tunes sport fluttering Spanish guitar or bright mariachi-band horns, which gives Bachmann's depression a romantic, widescreen flair. The best tracks feature vocals by group member Lara Meyerratken: "Call to Love" is a scintillating duet between her and Bachmann; when Meyerratken calls Bachmann a "smooth-talking daddy" over exuberantly strummed electric guitars, you'll wonder which dank piano bar they've been frequenting.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Dallas, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.