A very belated shout for the 2009 second release from Or, the Whale, a country-rock band named after the second, less famous half of a Melville title. The band, out of San Francisco, uses all the accoutrements of Americana -- twangy guitar, righteous straight-ahead drums, banjo, tightly harmonized gospel harmonies -- in a way that seems fresh and un-archival. In his review of Or, the Whale two years ago, PopMatters' Joshua Kloke noted that "Or, The Whale succeed where others in the country-rock genre have failed: they keep things very, very authentic."
"Rusty Gold" is, quite possibly, the best of a very strong group of songs, not least because it starts with the line "My dog died and he broke my heart," which, considering that I think about my dog every day, four years after he went, is something I can relate to. It's also pitched at that sharp but loose country level, which reminds me of Neil Young and Oakley Hall and the Band...all outfits that could put a little spine into their down-home and make it rock.
I've been updating Dusted all week, which is way more work than you'd think, especially on dial-up. Last night I thought I'd brought the whole site down, but it came up again about an hour later and now I'm done.