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Jug Ugly

Aaron Loesch and band find inspiration in life's throwaway objects

Thus complete, The Jug embarked on a standing Sunday-night showcase at Rudyard's that's now a year old and running. The Rudz gigs are free, so no one complains much about the occasional drunks on either side of the mike or the starting hour (reasonable guess: midnight) that ensures nobody but closing-time regulars will ever see the band there. Still, sparks arc through the gaps, and even when the three-piece is wobbling along on just five cylinders, there's something worth hearing. It's usually Loesch, ripping out breakneck banjo patterns on one of his battered guitars (he's got dozens of the things, collects them, Silvertone being his personal favorite) or blowing a kazoo solo, or wailing -- and the boy can sing -- something about trains or the Harris County Jail out from under the brim of a floppy felt hat. Loesch is, in his own words, "in character" at these moments, and the yahooism adds to the presentation, but he doesn't carry the illusions, or the pretensions, of strict period traditionalists. "We're not trying to preserve old styles. We take a fundamental here and there."

And filter them through Loesch's slightly addled sensibility, which swings back and forth between a moody love of any noun that can take the adjective "swampy" and a fixation on the "spooky" side of Bjork. You're not going to catch all that in the live show, but hints appear on a forthcoming CD (best guess: September) in the form of organs, guitars that sound like organs, whistling solos, "ooh chick" backup and three-piece kazoo harmonies. It's the most un-boring, big damn long 18-some-odd track CD since Horseshoe dropped King of the World. It'll probably have a name by the time a record release show is announced.

Then again, maybe The Jug will get distracted writing chamber music for a dance troupe -- an actual project, Loesch says -- and forget.

"Mopar" Mike Sinclair, Chris King and Aaron Loesch have landed on a distinctive sound with Jug O' Lightnin'.
Deron Neblett
"Mopar" Mike Sinclair, Chris King and Aaron Loesch have landed on a distinctive sound with Jug O' Lightnin'.

"Leaving people confused is fine by us. It's a stunt band. We'll try it. Hopefully they don't throw hard objects."

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