The Bottle Rockets: Brand New Year

Brand New Year (Doolittle)

Record Reviews

The Bottle Rockets

Brand New Year (Doolittle)

Tube-top Tammys riding atop the shoulders of mustached heshers, Jack Daniels bottles and Bic lighters raised in the air, dudesicles with three-foot bongs in the trunks of their Camaros. The Doolittle debut from Festus, Missouri's pride and joy finds the Bottle Rockets mining familiar territory: Bad Company, ZZ Top, Crazy Horse, and other various Southern rock outfits. There's even a hard-edged echo of the Byrds. "Nancy Sinatra" is a lustful ode to the Sixties pop icon and her go-go boots, while "The Bar's on Fire," with the Homer Simpson-like cry, "Oh my God the bar's on fire -- somebody save the beer," calls to mind the whipcrack sound of Skynyrd at their best. "White Boy Blues," a jab at rich yuppie types with expensive vintage guitars and Buddy Guy fetishes, calls to mind Bad Co's "Shooting Star." Chief knob-twister Eric Ambel brings a Big Rock Production sound that matches the CD's material, and even though their hard-rock bluster can almost be cheesy at times, the group's dead-on, salt of the earth observations of life cut through the brie every time. Thematically, Brand New Year isn't a real happy album, but glum lyrics are always offset by a tongue-in-cheek attitude. The Bottle Rockets conjure up images of outdoor rock festivals and Volunteer Jams past, probably to the chagrin of roots-rock/alt-country purists, but then nobody said that's necessarily a bad thing.


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Kinky Friedman
Resurrection (Record Review)

Rick Weaver, Jan. 3, 2020

Texas Platters
The Beaumonts / Hickoids
This Is Austin, All the World's a Dressing Room (Record Review)

Kevin Curtin, Jan. 3, 2020

More by Jerry Renshaw
SXSW Live Shots
Export Sweden Showcase

March 19, 2004

SXSW Live Shots
Amsterdam Calling

March 19, 2004

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle