Missoula Independent Vol.16 No.10 March 2005

Can Kickers

Mountain Dudes

Cosmodemonic Telegraph

Listening to the Can Kickers is like being swung around a dusty dance hall after too many longnecks, dizzy and happy and giddy without a care about tomorrow or the headache that's sure to follow. There's no time to think when the band is playing old-time mountain music with the fervor of an Irish punk band; you just go with it.

Mountain Dudes isn't so much a studio recording as an attempt to bottle a Kickers live show. There is almost no studio production and the band plays loose and free from track to track. Every other song, maybe, you can make out some of Daniel Spurr's mumbling twang. The harmonies are rough around the edges, but none of that matters. The energy of Dan Thompson's fiddling and the doubled beats of Doug Schaefer's percussion (he was actually in a hardcore band, The Afflicted, before going old-time) give the Kickers a rambunctious, rollicking groove that translates just well enough in a recording to make you want to give the live show a whirl.

The Can Kickers are less bluegrass than old, weird Appalachia turned upside down. The Smithsonian's American Anthology of Folk Music, which contains several early versions of tunes reimagined here, never sounded so modern. (Skylar Browning)