Written by: The Administrator
If you run in the death blues circle, (an admittedly select group,) you are undoubtedly familiar with 20 Watt Tombstone. Hell, if you like blues rock or stoner doom in general, there's a good chance you've heard the name. These guys play a down 'n' dirty amalgamation of ZZ Top-esque groovy southern blues rock with a grimy Clutchian desert-rock edge. In other words, these are hard rockin' tunes from the backwoods. There's nothing flashy in their formula: just heavy riffs, gritty vocals, and the spirit of Americana.
20 Watt Tombstone's next release is a brief-yet-tantalizing affair: a 2-track EP featuring two bangin' cover songs. Side A is a rollicking cover of the (oft-underappreciated) "Just Got Paid" by the aforementioned ZZ Top. Side B, a rendition of "Midnight Train to Memphis” by Chris Stapleton, offers a slightly more somber--although no less hefty--side of 20 Watt Tombstone. Though small in stature, this release packs a damn fine one-two punch.
"Just Got Paid" demonstrates 20 Watt Tombstone at their most crisp and confident. There's a wonderfully lush quality to the guitar tone, and the vocals and drums both cut through the fuzz with a clarity that suits these fellas quite well. The utilization of the slide herein works well, lending a positivity and charm to the overall picture. Followup "Midnight Train to Memphis" is similarly executed at the highest tier, with particularly emotive vocals and a riff that simply won't quit. Neither are covers that seeks to flashily reinvent the originals, but they both certainly nail the heart and soul of the source material, be it ZZ Top's pocket-full-of-change jubilance and working-man brand, or Stapleton's more somber outlaw narrative.
At just over seven minutes, Year of the Jackalope is over far too soon...which is kind of the point. These two tracks do well to whet our chops for an eventual heaping platter o' 20 Watt Tombstone, and if that ain't enough for a release between releases, I don't know what is. This 2-track drops on Januray 22nd, and when it does, we slumbering scribes highly recommend you snatch it up.
20 Watt Tombstone - Year of the Jackalope will be released Jan. 22nd, 2021. Find it on bandcamp here!
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!