WOOD CHICKENS: Countrycide: LP

The cowpunk genre is dangerous territory for me in that I’m unfamiliar with the roots and am quite indifferent to country music entirely (from Johnny Cash to Merle Haggard to Garth Brooks: not fucking sorry). Wood Chickens are definitely doing the cowpunk thing—right down to the cow skull on the cover—but songs like “Angie Hosh,” “Hex on Me,” and “Dyin’ on the Vine” are straight-up hardcore punk not unlike Everything Falls Apart-era Hüskers. “Flesh ‘N’ Blood” is a very Minutemen-esque song that also rules pretty hard. I was almost ready to dismiss this as forgettable alt-country (the Refreshments, et cetera) or even as Flogging Molly without the fiddles and accordion, but I’m really glad I gave this a closer look because there’s so many more layers to this record than just that. Winner, winner, chicken dinner! –Juan Espinosa (Big Neck, woodchickens.bandcamp.com / bigneckrecords.com)