Reverend Horton Heat, Cracker, Legendary Shack Shakers

Reverend Horton Heat laughs, cries, drops "Bales of Cocaine."
Reverend Horton Heat laughs, cries, drops "Bales of Cocaine."

Ah, the early '90s, a time when a Nudie suit-clad rockabilly cat out of Deep Ellum could get signed to Sub Pop with songs about steak and marijuana, and a crew of Santa Cruz slackers could top the modern-rock charts with a song demanding a new Frank Sinatra "so I can get you in bed." If it's hard to believe it's been nearly 20 years since the Reverend Horton Heat and Cracker had their respective brushes with alt-fame, it's just as hard to believe that both groups are still alive, kicking and have barely lost a step. These days the Reverend may incorporate a good deal more country, swing and lounge into his albums — the latest being last year's Laughin' & Cryin' with the Reverend Horton Heat (Yep Roc) — but his live shows remain pillars of pure psychobilly mania. Cracker, meanwhile, re-emerged after a long hiatus (during which front man David Lowery got his old group Camper Van Beethoven back together for a spell) with 2009's Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey, a suite of easygoing country-rock loaded with pop-culture references, sharp-tongued satire and enough dirty-old-man leering ("Friends") to reassure fans that Lowery and company will never act their age. Opening are the Legendary Shack Shakers, artist/filmmaker Col. J.D. Wilkes's Nashville crew that splits the difference between Moon Mullican and Ministry on this year's Agri-dustrial.

 
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