We Were the States

Believe the Thieves (Chicken Ranch)

SXSW Platters

We Were the States

Believe the Thieves (Chicken Ranch)

Don't let the moniker fool you. Murfreesboro, Tenn., quintet We Were the States clearly has a much larger target in mind than a small room of aging post-punk aficionados. To be sure, the building blocks of this spry full-length debut are dynamic left turns slathered in the Lower East Side guitar fuzz of Television by way of the Strokes. Opener "Up Your Sleeve" sets the scene with a badgering garage rock riff from the Sonics' playbook that repeatedly burns itself down to the wick. "Try" succeeds on the strength of an unusually timed chord progression and the vocal bravado of Justin Webb, who lifts the song from mere catchiness to prime contender for a sports highlight-reel soundtrack. The album's second half isn't as energetic, but the creeping subway rhythm of "Hard" exudes a charm of its own. Another solid punch from Chicken Ranch's Volunteer State contingent. (Wednesday, March 12, Light Bar, 9pm.)

***

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