TAXPAYERS, THE: Cold Hearted Town: LP

Jun 13, 2014

The Taxpayers are an American band. The America you find in the lure of the bayou. Kudzu-covered mansions. The devil at the crossroads. Headless horsemen. Roadside carnivals. The Air-conditioned Nightmare. The America that’s mysterious, unrestrained, and cruel. Cold Hearted Town sounds like Tom Waits on sketchy drugs. A baritone saxophone makes it a record as heavy as a steam engine: pummeling, oppressive, and right on time. Tenor sax, trumpet, banjo, and accordion whirl around the precision rhythms like fireflies, flickering in and out. Haunting, luminous, organic. It’s jazz played in punk’s backyard. It’s like drinking an expensive amaretto out of a dirty peanut butter jar. The guitars alternate from acoustic tones dryer than scotch and meandering slide riffage that sounds like someone playing an AM radio dial through a distortion pedal. Rob’s vocal delivery oscillates between the fervor of a street corner preacher and the avouchmentsof somebody who thinks no one is listening. With fire and abandon. Think the Reverend Gary Davis with espresso in his veins instead of blood. The back of the record tells a story about how Rob bought a book of incantations in New Orleans and went to write the album in an abandoned house. I won’t give the story away, but I will tell you that he spills his blood. The lyrics reflect the story. Satan speaks in the song “Plant Oak,” telling the narrator, “You know the answer, you know what to do: Link hands, lie down, and tie rope. By the full moon and black skies, plant oak.” Highly, highly fucking recommended. 

 –Matthew Hart (Useless State, / Plan-It X,