Two Gallants

It's easy to love the quasi-folk duo Two Gallants. They're superyoung -- barely of legal drinking age -- but in their own words "ain't good-lookin' from a quarter-mile," which creates a kindred bond among the majority of youngsters who don't look like the kids on The O.C. Native sons Adam Stephens (guitar/harmonica/vocals) and Tyson Vogel (drums) also bow down to the right kind of patron saints. There's old-school Bob Dylan all over Stephens's melodic phrasing and honest-to-God American storytelling, not to mention his breathlessly singsong harp playing. The group draws on pint-swilling Pogues-ish anthems and Pink Floyd's Wall-era melancholia, both of which connect with every arrested adolescent's need for rebellion and broodiness. Best of all, Two Gallants' vision is in no way sanitized or melodramatic. Convincing images of domestic violence, abandonment, running away, death and madness creep into nearly every tune. It's good to hear dark-side Americana up close and personal like this. Somehow it feels just like home.
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Sam Prestianni